The Errm Art Gallery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, recently hosted a solo exhibition by Iraqi modern artist Qais Al-Sindy.
The exhibition entitled “Neighs in the Houses of Wind” included 51 paintings and multimedia artworks. The US-based Iraqi plastic artist talked to The Arab Weekly about his new collection.
“When we leave our homes, they do not leave us and our belongings remain there as a companion. And if we own horses and leave them behind, they will make sure the houses do not feel lonely. The relationship between man and his horse is a very close one and it is as ancient as man and his existence.
“Baghdad-born artist Qais Al-Sindy knows what it means to carry a land, a people, and a tradition with him. His art creates connections between different cultures and traditions as he raises profound questions.” – Art commentary by @LilCopan.https://t.co/7LeN41SprW— theChristianCentury (@ChristianCent) June 8, 2022
"The horse is the companion of its owner and shares with him all details of daily life, especially when it comes to coming and going. Horses turn into homes for their owners on the move. They play a vital role in shaping civilisations and embodying their spatial and temporal features alike.”
This is was the basic point of departure for Qais Al-Sindy when he endeavoured to express his nostalgia for the places where he used to live. Beyond that premise, he expanded his visual horizon as every artist does.
In Sindy’s artwork, both convergence and accumulation are at play. Each painting is inhabited by more than one feeling and idea. There are many scenes in which the horse, which is the main protagonist of the paintings, is depicted as preparing to leave.
The idea of preparing to leave is quite crucial. It is as if the artist wanted consciously or subconsciously to immortalise the first moment of separation from the homeland, with all the feelings of sadness that it entails. No matter how long the time spent outside home and the experiences accumulated in the countries of exile, the moment of departure keeps its glow in one’s heart and conscience.
The horse is contemplated and captured by the artist as a symbol of departure but also of continuity. In all of the cases, the horse is able to withstand all kinds of difficulties and new experiences, not for his own sake as much as for that of his owner and the land where the latter grew up but was forced to leave.
In some of Sindy’s paintings, the person who embodies the artist’s nostalgia is also present. The few characters that inhabit the paintings show chronic fatigue. Beyond the logic of sadness or despair, they seem very calm and therefore do not leave much for interpretation.
The horses become the passion, the nostalgia, and the departure under the pressure of forceful emigration.
One specific tableau stands out more than the others. It is a painting that we could call the "blue embryo". In this painting, a white horse appears with full features in a position that resembles a foetus emerging from a “solar” planet, if you will, as if it is embracing the edges of its hooves.
The artist positions the horse at the top of his painting, making it a sign of beauty and a symbol of nostalgia for the wider womb, which is the homeland he has left. At the bottom of the painting is a very simple structure resembling a children's drawing of a ghostly house devoid of its owners.
Visitors at the Riyadh art gallery. (Facebook)
In most of the paintings, the horse appears, loaded with luggage that sometimes resembles the horses themselves. The horse is loaded with mysterious objects that seem to contain more than people's personal belongings. It is likely loaded with hopes, sorrows, memories and legacies of a life already spent.
Qais Al Sindy is an Iraqi-American multi-media artist versed in painting, installation, video, conceptual and performance art.
He explains his artistic perspective saying: “I see my artworks, in general, as revealing the shutter of the outside world and helping people to feel and share what is going on their lives, in any part of this world”.
Sindy received B.Sc., from the college of engineering, Baghdad University in 1989. He subsequently started to study art. In 2000, he received BA, from the Academy of Fine Arts, at Baghdad University and then he received his MFA (Master in Fine Art) in 2004. The artist left Iraq in 2004. He lived temporarily in Jordan, before settling in California, USA in 2008.
He exhibited his artworks in San Diego and Los Angeles (California), Washington, DC and Michigan (US), London (UK), Dubai (UAE), as well as in Switzerland, Lebanon, Bahrain, Germany and the Netherlands.
This article was written by Mimoza Al Arawi
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