Nijat Hushur and his Art

Based on a text written by Christoph Poche


Nijat Hushur is a “wanderer between worlds”. He was born in 1969 in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, home of the Uyghurs. Even as a child, he always wanted to become a painter, for nothing was more fascinating to him than to draw and paint pictures of the things he saw around him. After leaving school, he attended teacher training college and received his first training in art and art education. In the early stages he had to learn the principles of traditional, academic training for young artists, which placed emphasis on observing and reproducing what he saw in real life as accurately as possible. This period saw Hushur’s paintings depicting in luminous colors his cultural Uyghur environment and scenes of rural and village life.

On his travels through the oases of his homeland, he discovered in the inhabitants, especially in old men with beards and sunburnt faces, the features of a natural, ingenuous humanity which he was capable of impressively depicting in his numerous portrait drawings.


As part of an academic exchange program, Nijat Hushur came to the University of Arts in Berlin in 2005 as a visiting researcher. This first stay in Germany gave him a completely new stimulus: an encounter with abstract painting, an art form that had completely freed itself from referring to all external elements. This approach and the immense number of possibilities it offered made a great impression on him and he began to experiment.

In 2006, deeply fascinated by the freedom in life, thinking and painting hitherto unknown to him he started a regular study program of Free Arts and finished it in 2010 as a “Master Student”. After this he completed the advanced Master's degree of “Art in Context”, also at the University of Arts in Berlin. During his studies he spent several months each year in Xinjiang with his family working as an academic art teacher in order to pass on everything he had learnt. He also published a textbook in Chinese about painting techniques as he had learnt them in Berlin.


After a long period of struggling through the overwhelming abundance of new technical, intellectual and artistic impressions and possibilities, Nijat Hushur succeeded step by step in finding his own form of expression: in his art, he combines elements of the Uyghur, the Chinese and the West European cultures. Moreover, as he hovers in the borderland between concreteness and abstraction, on the one hand his art seeks the freedom of sheer abstract color compositions and on the other hand traces of his memories of the Central Asian landscape establish the structure of the painting. Above all, the sand desert Taklamakan, which covers a large part of Xinjiang, plays a significant role in Hushur’s art. Thus, we often find in his oeuvre barren, earth-colored mountain ridges and dusty plains, but as an antipole also the vivid green and bright colors of fertile oases and their dense tree population. Also, by selecting different sections he studies in many of his paintings the relationship between micro and macro structures as well as parallelism in the creation of shapes in nature and in the behavior of the paint substances during the creation process. 

Most of Hushur’s recent works are made using an idiosyncratic mixed technique, in which acrylic painting is enriched with collage elements, mostly pieces of Chinese rice paper, glued on canvas. Sometimes these paper elements remain natural-colored; sometimes they are dyed in advance using many different methods, such as traditional Chinese ink painting, water color or marbling techniques. Nijat Hushur loves to experiment with colors and give them plenty of freedom: for instance by letting the paints run, applying them by drips or big puddles and then watching to see how different structures develop during the drying process. Thus, his compositions seem to be a result of natural processes and painting techniques, but in fact they are an expression of the artist’s unconscious visions. That is why the beholder believes to discover real forms in the colors and structures of his pictures.


Even today in Nijat Hushur’s art, the colors of the desert, snow-covered mountain profiles and the characteristic manifestations of the birch and poplar groves in the oases merge together as traces of memory with the abstract painting of the West, thus making his pictures a wonderful example of how different cultures can enrich each other.


For Nijat Hushur's paintings seeNijat Hushur im Bild

For Nijat Hushur's drawings see:  Zeichnungen im Bild