Artist Zarina Situmorang highlights the delicate beauty of hands in her exquisite oil paintings. Inspired by the dramatic light and dark works of Caravaggio, she places pairs of hands against a black background and adds a soft glowing illumination that imbues the composition with gentle tenderness.
This ongoing series of paintings is entitled Warmth. “I’m mostly inspired by emotions, I want to tell a story with my paintings,” Situmorang tells My Modern Met. That is why she gravitates towards depictions of hands. Through their many different gestures, she is able to communicate a range of feelings. “I’m mesmerized by hands! They say more than words—you can see excitement or sadness just by looking at hand gestures,” she adds. “They give me an ability to talk about hope, warmth, and faith without even showing face.”
Situmorang enhances her renditions of hands by harnessing the power of light. Each of her paintings features a solid background, similar to a darkened stage. Then, she includes a warm yellow light emanating from the palms of the hands—its mysterious origin casting an overall sense of wonder in the image. “The Warmth series is inspired by my searches of home—when I was a kid, I didn't feel safe at the place where I was living,” she explains. “I was always saying ‘I want to go home' even though I didn't have a different safe space. So eventually I found it in myself, in my own hands.”