Property from a Private Collection, Surrey

Hamra Abbas

Please Do Not Step I

Auction Closed

October 26, 03:08 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection, Surrey

Hamra Abbas

b. 1976

Please Do Not Step I

Opaque watercolour, gold leaf and mixed media on paper framed behind glass with Arabic and Latin script and patterned paper floor text

Smallest - Image: 7 x 73.3 cm. (2 ¾ x 28 ⅞ in.); Folio: 16 x 83.7 cm. (6 ¼ x 32 ⅞ in.)

Largest - Image: 8.7 x 91.6 cm. (3 ⅜ x 36 in.); Folio: 18 x 95.4 cm. (7 x 37 ½ in.)

Executed in 2004

Please note the text on the glass is Arabic and Latin script.
Acquired directly from the artist by the ASAL Collection
Acquired from the above in London, 2013
A. Dawood and H. Nasar, Beyond the Page Contemporary Art from Pakistan, Green Cardamom, London, 2006
A. Dawood and S. Pereira, Hamra Abbas, Object Lessons, Green Cardamom, London, 2009
B. Nassar, S. Apte, S. Chadwick, The ASAL Collection, 2009, pp. 28-29
Kassel, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Playing with a Loaded Gun, 2004
London, Gas works, Please Do Not Step I, 2004
Cetinje, 5th Cetinje Biennial, Love It or Leave It, 2004
Sydney, 15th Biennale of Sydney, Zones of Contact, 2006

'Unrestrained by subject matter or media, [Hamra Abbas] allows herself to follow all lines of inquiry in order to create a diverse and holistic body of work. Previous series address cultural history, sexuality, violence, ornamentation, and faith. In her manner of embracing multiplicity, Hamra Abbas is visionary... Her practice embraces investigation, yet focuses on the meticulous.'

- Justine Ludwig

('Hamra Abbas: Kaaba Picture as a Misprint', Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2014, p. 3)

In subject matter, medium and concept, the works of Hamra Abbas are marked by diversity and ingenuity. Her idiosyncratic practice draws from a wealth of sources and experiences and can be traced back to her earliest works, of which Please Do Not Step I (2004) is a compelling example. The four miniature-inspired paintings pay homage to two religious texts - the Qu'ran and the Bible, and are divided into two parts. The left half reveals meticulously rendered Islamic patterns accompanied by Urdu script, and on the right, intriguing Biblical vignettes with Latin text.

These works were produced for the exhibition Playing with a Loaded Gun at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany in 2004, and were originally displayed as part of an immersive installation. The paintings were hung within a quadrangle of block-coloured panels, with a door-like opening in one corner. The central floor area within the panels was almost entirely covered by interlacing paper patterns reading 'Please do not step', thus restricting the movement of the viewer alongside the four paintings. The command 'Please do not step' has featured in a number of Abbas' works since, including an installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, which was short-listed for the Jameel Art Prize in 2009.

Please Do Not Step I reveals an incredible attention to detail - from the artist's intricate brushwork and exquisite use of colour and gold leaf in the miniature paintings to the painstaking pattern created out of the delicate paper cuttings. Created at the very start of her career, this work is testament to the visionary brilliance and technical mastery of Hamra Abbas.