Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Exhibition: A Salute to Jawad Salim

After wandering and roving among my talents and hobbies, after searching for the right means to express myself and thoughts, I finally found myself accomplishing one of the biggest dreams of mine. It actually happened and I received the recognition I was looking for as an artist during the opening evening of my exhibition.

It started by accidentally executing two of Jawad Salim’s paintings on ceramic relief and the idea struck me “I can make an entire collection by recreating Jawad’s work with a different material”. With the encouragement of my mentor Wissam Al Hadad, I was able to complete more than 30 art works. Some of them were copying Jawad’s work but in different sizes and colours, others were compositions of the symbols he used and was known for, and also the recreating the Freedom Monument miniature.

There it was, ready and set, hanging on the walls of the gallery with spotlights on them, my works sparkled with glaze others with mat colours (as Jawad used to like his colours), and the bronze glaze for the Freedom Monument miniature. Old and current students of the Institute were the first to attend, then came the teachers and all of them were amazed by my work. Most of them had witnessed the early process of executing but they didn’t have the chance to see the finishing part due to the weather condition in UAE.

People started to come in on the sound of the Iraqi artist Kadhum Al Sahir’s limited edition only classical poem songs. The first guests were Sa’di Al Hadithi, Mohammed Al Jaza’ri (the best Iraqi art critic) Qassim Mohammed and his wife, Mahmood Abu al Abbas, Riyad Al Dabbagh (former dean of Mustansiriya University), an Egyptian sculptor, many Iraqi, Syrian and Arab artists and other people, later family members and friends started to arrive. Then a newspaper reporter asked for an interview and it was a bit crowded so we went in to the administration office with my teacher and the director of the Institute. After recording I went out for the opening as Mr Hisham al Madhloom arrived, it was even much more crowded. Two other newspaper reporters arrived and it was the time for the opening.

With the head of Art Directory, institute director, important guests and artists around me, and the photographer heading us, I started clarifying each piece and stories related to creating them. I don’t remember how long it took but all I could remember was me explaining and most of them nodding and others showing positive expressions on their faces. I saw the face of my mentor encouraging me and almost mouthing the same words I was saying. I felt I was glowing and everything was dark except me and my work.

After finishing the round I noticed my friends who were there from the MBA and the institute and other family members and relatives. Explaining here and their and taking photos, time flied by. The hours were passing by and I asked one of the teachers how long usually such events last. He said that an hour earlier but as long as people are still coming in and enjoying the exhibition we’ll stay until the last guest leaves. And we did. The last two guests to leave were two Syrian men. One of them was an architect and the other was a painter. They took two rounds and I joined them for the third. They asked about the materials and the kind of glaze and some other questions related to the compositions. They were very interested.

My parents were busy receiving the guests and giving directions on the phone with friends on how to get to the gallery. They were surprised because I didn’t show them the work earlier. They came as guests to see my work. I felt how proud of me and how they were happy for me.

I collected the flower bouquets I received as I was leaving and the janitor closed the door behind me. The place had never witnessed such important people or such number. The exhibition was the first personal ceramic exhibition in the history of the institute since it was established 1997. Everybody kept praising me and my creativity and I was blushing most of the times. It was a great start for me and I have to maintain such level and think of the next step.

P.S. Sharqiya (Iraqi tv) and Sharja TV came yesterday and filmed the exhibition and recorded interviews with me and my mentor and some of the guests and teachers.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Attawie from Sharjah al '3ariqa

So, some news updates! UAE has been praying for God to have rain since December 2007, Thursday was first day in Hijri calendar, Bush decided to come to UAE, what else, nothing except Attawie’s first personal exhibition is on the 16th.

With that Thursday off which makes it a three-day weekend, and Bush’s visit to Dubai which made Dubai give a day off, and the praying for rain has finally paid off, attawie’s invitation prints were delayed for a couple of days. It’s ok, no need to panic. Everyone has been informed by phone, e-mail or face to face conversation and by WOM (word of mouth). Still 300 card of invitation need to be distributed. Relatives and friends and some colleagues received their invitation. With a super ride with dad, attawie was able to spread the invitations in Ajman, the university, and Sharjah Lady Club. As for Dubai, it was so hectic and I couldn’t reach there because of the rain, only phone calls and emails were made.
Some people were able to reach my home and get the invitation themselves and they would help to distribute them.

As for the posters it was the institute’s and the department of art job. I only took some to place in the university, the lady club and our building. But it’s raining. They will be indoors ads.

I went to the institute today to hand the works on the walls. I know it’s late and the exhibition is tomorrow but yesterday I went and the administration hasn’t decided whether to put it in the first floor or the second. The second is better because the place is nicer. As for the first floor, there are some new huge machines which are impossible to move, are sitting in the middle of the hall. I’ll post photos to explain later. But I really don’t mind. I don’t want anything to bother me.

The woman in the administration, who was supposed to do the phone call invitations didn’t do her job, and with all the rain she couldn’t make it to the institute. I end up calling people to invite them. And since I’m very well known in the institute, didn’t just take the message, no no, they wanted to chitchat. I hardly made 7 phone calls and land line died as a result from the rain.

oh, and I heard that there will be two tv channels to cover the exhibition. Sharjah tv must be one of them and i'm worndering who's the second.

I hated Bush for coming and I hated the day off, and I really don’t give a damn about his visit or what he came to say. All that he says is just empty words within empty promises.

The rain is pouring down since yesterday and the streets are blocked. There’s no Sharjah anymore, there’s only Sharjah al ‘3ariqa (sinking sharjah)

I just wanted to clear my mind before the exhibition and write something in here and ask you all to pray for me and wish me luck.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Happy New Hijri Year

Tonight is the Hijri New Year’s Eve. I have to write this post because it was on my mind for more than a while now.
This date is very dear to my heart. I’ve never really understood it till 1998, when my religion teacher told us that this day is a date to celebrate just like 1\1. She told us to light a candle on a cake and to pray for a happy new year for all of our loved ones and for the Islamic World.

That same day I went with my mother to her friend’s home. The women had three sons, the same age like me and my sisters, and we had good friendship for about a year until we developed different interest, or I guess grew up.

The guy my age, H, was the geek one but at the same time he was the one who took care of his mother, the house, the dog and the car. He was funny, caring and religious. He was Metallica’s biggest fan I’ve ever seen. At that time he was starting to learn guitar. I’ve heard about this band but I wasn’t such a big fan. But later Mettalica was the icon that I measure every band with.

At summer, when there was no electricity, we would sit on the cold ground. H plays guitar and we sing. When we’re not singing we’re sitting in the living room listening to Metallica. Sometimes we would play some games on the pc or with the youngest brother video games.

When my mother took me that day to visit them, we were chatting in the kitchen. H held a lighter in his hand and started to put his finger on the small flame, back and forth. He asked me if I’ve tried this before and I, who was afraid of fire, bragged and said yes. He handed me the lighter and I lit up the lighter with one hand and made my finger swing on the flame with the other. While I was doing so, I didn’t feel any fire but the metal edge was getting warmer and warmer. He started by saying:

“It’s amazing how this small flame have this cruel burning fire. It always makes me wonder how hell looks like.”
At that age, I’ve never really thought of Hell neither of Heaven. I knew the concept and I knew how our religion describe them, but I’ve never meditate on them. My mind escaped the moment and I don’t recall how exactly the conversation went on but I had nothing to answer but slight nods.

“Washing dishes” he continued “made me think of hell a lot. Once I used the hot water along and it burned my skin for a while and that what made me think seriously of hell. If boiling water had this effect then what about Hell?”

On that day, when I went home I started prying and I haven’t stopped praying daily since then. That year I also started reciting Qura’an during Ramadhan.

I’m no longer in touch with H, our mothers still and they exchange e-mails, phone calls and SMSs. The other day I was replying on behalf of my mother and the women told me H was doing his master degree.

Since then H has became sort of a spiritual friend of mine. Even though we’re not in touch each year on this day I include him in my prayers because he was the one who encouraged me to be a better Muslim and eventually a better person without even knowing it. Without telling me what to do or what not to do, he didn’t even ask me to pray. I wish Muslims can be like that without forcing anyone to believe in Islam but by being the good Muslim to be a good role model. I believe H made himself an example I could follow. I can sing, I can be funny, friendly, geek, smart, Metallica fan, and a good Muslim.

Happy New Hijri Year Everyone
May God bless you all

I heard form a mutual friend that H was the best guitarist in Iraq and that he’s writing his own music and he gave me two tracks composed and performed by H

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good bye 2007 welcome 2008

This is the traditional phrase “good bye 2007, welcome 2008” and happy New Year everyone. Another year has passed; a new one is still coming up. People have always waited for the new year to make their decisions “I’ll quit smoking, I’ll lose weight, I’ll be a better person…” and just like that goes on the promises that people make for themselves and their families and their significant others. Yet most of these promises are merely smoked in the air, just like the promises Iraqis have been promised since 2003. (No politics for today)

Reading last year’s post for the New Year, with a simple post I discovered something complicated about me. It seems it’s the sense of achievement that I was looking for and the thing that led to not knowing “Who I am? What do I want?” the simple questions which require meditation and a journey to answer.

According to that founding I decided to make my 2007 the year of "First time to do…" & "Achievements”. Today I looked at the list, with a pen in my hand to check the list. I found there was not much to mark other than riding a horse.

It felt so disappointing but I decided to check my posts to see the stuff I done for the first time during 2007

So the ear thing was one weird thing to exercise. The maximum four courses I registered two semesters back were a big challenge for me. And the first time I go out and lock myself out which maid me spend some hours in the doorway looking at photos from my wallet, realizing all those beloved ones are in different countries.

This was the weirdest New Year’s Eve I’ve ever spent in my life. Last year I was in Amman’s streets with my two sisters and brother-in-law. This year was with my parents, grandpa, my uncle’s family and Hana (a second cousin to my second cousin, whom I would consider a close friend rather than a relative). We had no plans and went no where. We were all busy that we forgot about dinner which is why I ended up in kitchen preparing something to eat.

Hana and I had Pepsi. It wasn’t yummy but we had nothing to drink other than the flavored milk, which she had before Pepsi. We ate to ears of boiled corns. Saw an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, on a DVD, the one with the baby shower, season 8

At 00:00 Hana and I left my room to say happy New Year, we put the TV on Arabia news and there was fireworks in Dubai and that the Emirate is insisting on making a record of fireworks. We all congratulated each others. Then Hana, my uncle’s wife and I went downstairs to buy bread for tomorrow. Though we live next to Dubai, we couldn’t see anything regarding fireworks. Hana’s parents came to pick her up around 12:30.

Stuff I like about 2007
• Still praying and reciting Qura’an
• Finishing the first year of the MBA
• Meeting my three little cousins for the third time
• Riding a horse (crossing from the list)
• Making two friendship with N and R
• I spent the entire year preparing for my ceramic exhibition and fixing it’s date for January 16th 2008 ( it could be one of the best achievements)
• Learnt how to use the airbrush in glazing ceramics
• Visiting the entire emirates of the UAE, and other important places here and there.
• Going to a relative wedding and dance till 2 am (other than my sister’s wedding we never had such a wedding in the family since 1999)
• My reading list is so huge but it’s mostly related to the MBA
• Meeting Z, a friend of mine who came to UAE from Baghdad and flied to the States, after spending three years of no news from both sides.
• Ate jumbo shrimps
• Tried some Chinese food like sushi
• Preparing New years’ eve’s feast (two dishes of beef burgers, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, pinches of spices and olive oil plus two different types of side dishes: avocado’s dip and some other bean and humus.

I hope next year there will be more to write about.
Happy new year everyone,
Happy New Year Iraq and Iraqis,
May God bles