This piece is classy and humorous at the same time, I think. The concept is the idea that people can use other people as ‘stepping stones’ to get ahead.
We had been so hopeful at the end of 2017 that a commission work could be a ‘stepping stone’ for progression and it felt a huge blow that we were unsuccessful. I recently read that, ‘the gift of disappointment is to bring us into reality so we don’t get stuck in the realm of how things might have been”. It was really a learning curve for us both, whilst my husband had the expectation of how life would be as a consequence he also has the ability to quickly move on and is undeterred. On the other hand, I don’t have the same future vision but I find it much harder to remain so positive and inspired after experiencing that kind of disappointment. Perhaps because I am the ‘supporting’ artist rather than the lead character in this quest of ours. I was thinking that this piece is very symbolic of the issue within the movie world at the moment.
The recent outing of men abusing their position to allow woman to get ahead or prevent them from doing so in films. My husband thinks the whole industry is built on it and so how can it really change or be made into anything with ‘morals’. However, it highlights the point about how people can abuse their position, these men are powerful and can influence and have the ability to make or break the careers of aspiring filmmakers and artists, particularly young women who are trying to make their way in the industry.
But this piece doesn’t just need to represent woman. It could be the idea of parents pushing their children as a ‘stepping stone’ towards something or colleagues competing between each other for a promotion, governments using people as a stepping stone to push through policies. This is a visual story of the way people use others to move their own lives forward and use the shoulders of someone else to get ahead.
Most of the work my husband sculpts forms part of a collection, a group of sculptures under the same title. The latest finished collection is, “Only Human”, born from ideas taken from human phrases. Phrases we use in conversation that has then shaped the form of these vessels. Human beings are fallible, we are not perfect and we can only strive for improving ourselves. Always makes me think of the song, “Human” by Rag’n’bone, as the boys did a Viking song based on the rhythm and we had the song going around our head constantly. ” We are only human after all, don’t put your blame on me.” Human beings are no longer a subject of focus on a daily basis and in many ways have become devalued. Alex Rodgers wrote a book with the same name about the current issues and problems young people face in today’s society.
Each sculpture is created as a human figure whilst simultaneously acting like a canvas which if stretched out would give you an abstract colourful painting, showing that emotion has a colourful impact on human energy and action. These pieces are a frozen body movement which has been shaped by the emotion to allow you to understand that each one of them is only a presentation of who you are. The colour e describes the emotion hidden within the piece and is a completion of the actual concept. Our emotions are so powerful, if we look back at the past mankind uses this emotion to direct not just thousands but millions.
All these pieces have been hand carved using various materials and then painted. Many people can have a create talent, they can draw, paint, take a photography or work with clay or wood. It is something again to bring something out from an imagination of an idea or concept and one in which you are telling a story. In an attempt to be more organised the next series of blog posts I will go through each one in turn, but for now you can think of your own titles for the pieces.
After several years of carving, crafting, working and whipping up huge sculptural stories, tonight in Johannesburg the opening of my husband solo show will showcase all that work in one space at Graham’s Fine Art Gallery (photos from the gallery)
The sculptor was amazed to see himself larger than life. ( I see this everyday!) but literally plastered all over the building.
A month at sea, a stay in the port and then the drive from Durban to Johannesburg to the gallery, the sculptures arrived not quite without hiccup.
A few damaged and the repair kit missing added to the drama. However, hoping today that has all been fixed. I haven’t heard any updates so praying that everything is going well.
So he spent an intense day unloading and setting up.
Yesterday, he had interviews.
Tonight the show will open. I am so excited all the way back home here in North Yorkshire and anticipating hearing all about it….find out more tomorrow.
We have a children’s book called ‘The parrot song’ which is a little ditty all about repetition. It mentions the German town of Baden-Baden and for a while in my ignorance I wondered why they had plucked out a town which rhymed with Pardon. I find it quite amusing because in the Arabic language there is no ‘p’ sound so words/letters in English can often me a little tricky for my husband. Baden and Pardon could almost be interchangeable. So when the offer of exhibiting in the German town of Baden-Baden came we had a rather interesting conversation as to whether it was one Baden or two. Needless to say there were numerous Baden’s and Pardon’s.
The connection with Baden-Baden was a racing event and the possibility of exhibiting ‘Troy’. The whole idea snowballed into my husband creating a body of work for a solo exhibition for Baden races. He painted prolifically in our house which was a real pleasure to participate in and be able to watch the process. He built on work we have had for several years. Layering ideas and colours, resulting in paintings like stories. I wish I had recorded the whole process really in todays digital age as it is an art in itself watching him create.
The sculptures, sleek and elegant are more like statements. He created new pieces specifically for the event adding to the already existing smaller horses head-piece ‘Mane’. So the summer was overtaken by preparing for Germany. With nerves, apprehension and excitement he flew to Frankfurt yesterday and onto Baden-Baden. Early this morning the work was arriving by van and I am sincerely praying they arrived safely, in one piece and the installation can begin. (text received all going well)
Here is a glimpse at the absolutely stunning work:
“I will be showing this collection at my exhibition at Baden Racing event in Germany from 28th of August to 6th of September. In this exhibition I am showing for the first time in my career paintings, which I have created involving horses to compliment my sculptural work. Being at the Baden racing event is a great opportunity and the perfect place to showcase this theme of work.Growing up in the countryside of Egypt I was surrounded by all kinds of animals in particular horses has influenced me. Not only as a creature but mainly the form and shape fascinated me. How it moves, the muscles and the harmony of the body whilst at speed and stationary. Riding horses in my culture is a natural thing there is no training for it. I believe being an Egyptian that I am a natural rider. The experience of riding has made me feel the body movement of the horse and the communication between the horse’s body and mine.At the faculty of Fine Art in Cairo I chose to be a sculptor, I never used horses as a subject as most of the practice was in the classical realism of human figures. However, when I look back at my sketchbook, every book has one or two drawings of horses. I wouldn’t describe myself as a painter; the prominence of my practice is in sculpting. Although, when I choose to paint the only thing, which comes to mind, are horses. I feel like my hand wills the brush beyond my control to paint them.
My usual sculptural practice is using steel and stainless steel using folding and welding techniques to create minimalistic sculptures to create my concepts. In 2013 I created an unusual piece, slightly different from my usual line of work. I had some material and saw a horse within so I tried to carve it out. I had no real purpose for creating it. The materials and space limited the size I could go to but my intention wasn’t for a full size horse. After several months of carving I realized I was creating my own version of a horse. This prompted the start of a collection and I am exhibiting them all together for the first time. My work reflects experience and memories that most of us share. Using the horse as a subject is a tool to highlight the universal concept to point out the strength within us, the harmony of creation of our body and the beauty within.”