My Exhibition: A Salute to Jawad Salim
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.