Technique Mixed media : Wood, leather, oil painting, acrylic paint, isorel. 55cm x 70cm
Jean Nirina : "Ombalahibemaso is today a Malagasy name which means : Great Hero. Like much of Madagascar's ancient history this word is derived from across the Indian Ocean, from Malayu-Hindu origins where it is directly descended from the Indian tribe of Nusantara Island, where it represents the sacred animal The Zebu known as 'lembu' or 'lambo' meaning Great Hero or Great Leader for his people. In today's Madagasar 'Ombalahibemaso' is therefore known as a cultural hero who holds near mythic status and is considered one of the greatest military and political leaders in the history of Madagascar.
Jean-Nirina’s recent works focus on the theme of ‘difference’, be it aesthetic, cultural, racial or Social. He represented Madagascar at the Third World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar in 2010. Following that he had his first solo exhibition at the Institut Français de Madagascar. He has also exhibited in the International Portrait Biennale in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011 and 2015.
He sees his art coming out of his own times and the situation of his country : “In my country we have suffered a great loss of dignity since 2008, when the political situation of Madagascar deteriorated. Although, we have now returned to the constitutional order, this crisis still has an impact on the life of our society, for example in poverty, insecurity, injustice and the loss of values. Today, I believe that artists can have a say in dealing with the evils that are undermining the country. My works indicate a rage to regain human dignity - through art. What better than art to be an alarm bell ? I am a sensitive being, a citizen of the world, I am an artist with a freedom of thought, and above all my art is a vector of expression often forgotten by my people. My main objective is to implore human dignity in a world where everything is chaos, where everything needs to be redone. In my art I can ‘step outside’ of my own country’s immediate situation by using references and great historical and mythical leaders from the past (for example Martin Luther King, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Ombalahibemaso and Ibonia – mythical great leaders or heroes) to artistically express my rage and to regain that dignity, this Malagasy human value that has been lost since 2008."