The 12th edition of the annual ‘Lasting Impressions’ exhibition series featuring the works of renowned Iraqi-Kurdish artist Ismail Khayat opened on October 5 and will be open till November 27th at the Sharjah Art Museum.
Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, inaugurated the exhibition in the presence of Aamad Abdulhameed, Iraqi Consul General, Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), and the artist’s wife Gaziza Omer and his son Hayas Khayat.
The exhibition curated by Alya Al Mulla and Hayas Khayat showcases over 130 artworks by Ismail Khayat including ‘A Sad Face,’ ‘Thoughts of a Person,’ ‘Birds and Woman’ and ‘Kurdish People.’
Born in 1944 in Khanaqin, Kurdistan, Khayat who is widely known as the ‘Picasso of Iraq’, ‘Stone Man” and the ‘Grandfather of Kurdish Art,” is considered one of the founders of the Kurdish art scene.
During his career spanning six decades, Khayat drew inspiration from his environment and Kurdish folklore and symbolism, to produce an art portfolio that includes over 4,000 paintings and more than 3,000 stone paintings and to initiate the Kurdistan Iraqi Art Movement while also serving as the supervisor of the art schools in Sulaymaniyah in Iraq, lecturer at the American University of Iraq, Sulaymaniyah (AUIS) and Director of Plastic Arts at the Ministry of Culture in Kurdistan.
The artist has used a variety of techniques and mediums, including ink, watercolors, charcoal, colored pencils, oil colors on paper, wood, and fabrics.
The subjects of his art encompassed his childhood memories of nature around his home and images of fish, birds, wild animals and portraits of Kurdish men and women dominate. War, genocide, the symbolic Tree of Life, architecture, and a variety of masks are also the subject of his paintings.
The masks featured in his work were in homage to his wife Gaziza Omer’s career on the stage.
Regarding his works on stone, he cited it as a daily practice. “I look for a narrative on stone,” he has been quoted as saying.
He considered his immense artworks “as a heritage for future generations.”
“Khayat’s distinctive style plays a critical role in his ability to use his artistic expression as means to channel socio-political topics whilst amplifying the importance of arts in self-expression and rallying communities to overcome challenges to the betterment of their societies,” said Manal Ataya, Director General of SMA,
The ‘Lasting Impressions’ series aims to foster knowledge and increase public awareness for art, by featuring prominent Arab artists who contributed to the development of art in the Arab world and left an enduring mark on its scene.
“The exhibition is in line with Sharjah’s mission and that of Sharjah Museums Authority to introduce the public to the distinguished works of artists from the Arab region, and to further promote the multi-faceted learning power of museums that inform and inspire creativity through unique experiences,” Ataya added.
To instill the love of arts in various community segments, the SMA is also organizing a series of activities on the sidelines of the exhibition, including the ‘Patterns and Colours’ workshop targeting school students. The activity includes a tour of the exhibition to inspire pupils while they engage in designing and printing a colorful pattern on a bag.
The ‘Lasting Impressions’ exhibition series was first launched in 2010, and during previous editions works by numerous renowned artists were featured including artworks by Baya Maheddine, Abdulqader Al Rais, Najat Mekky, George Bahgoury, Adam Henein, Noor Ali, Rashid, Thuraya Al Baqsami, Ismail Shammout, and Tamam El Akhal among others.
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