I am Drawing a Mural Which Expresses the Revolution
Ola al-Shaikh, Emirates Today – 26-11-2011
The Syrian artist, based in United Arab Emirates, Baseem Rayyes is trying to make art a message for communication among people by exploring new ways to construct a relationship between the audience and the painting. Rayyes, who presented his exhibition (A Wall Grows Next to Me) in Vindemia Gallery in Kempinsky Hotel in Dubai, believes that art is a language of communication among peoples, pointing that his latest project (A Painting on Every Wall), which he recently finished, proved that "there are people who love to keep artistic works, but their financial conditions prevent them from achieving that passion, so I decided to draw for them for free." After the beginning of the revolution in his country, Syria, Baseem decided to start a new project (A Painting for Every Martyr), so he said, "but I did not imagine the huge number of martyrs, so I stopped to observe and feel sad only, and to express these moments on a mural which will speak of free Syria."
A Wall Grows Next to Me
Rayyes, in his recent exhibition (A Wall Grows Next to Me) through 22 paintings, tried to express the state which the individual connected to modern communication feels; you see him completely alone in spite of the thousands of names in his friend list _ smell, touch and sense between him and the screen disappear even if he tried to convince himself by its importance; "he is completely isolated from nature." Rayyes said, "this does not mean ignoring the benefit which was created by the screen in changing people's way of thinking, and its huge contribution in lightening the way to the revolutions; this was so important in breaking many walls. They are works which simply expresses the walls which technology has destroyed through their support to the revolutions, and at the same time, the appearance of new walls between the individual and nature.
Baseem's character faces are always cruel; it simple reflects the cruelty of life "which this isolated lives."
Rayyes, also writes short story and won Al-Sharja Arab Creativity Prize for short story in 2010.
The viewer notices that the eyes of his characters are open wide with no life in them, and he does not deny that. "Right. Shining light completely disappeared from my characters; the light which shows nothing but happiness which is already missing. That is because the young today live away from their apparent and felt reality and are satisfied with what internet gives them, until they got used to this way of life which has dried the bright light in their days." Man, in his paintings, turned to an ugly monster with long fingernails and uncombed hair as if he is an outsider of time. Colors used in the works, on the other hand, are brave and lively on the opposite of his characters, "I wanted to express the color which gives hope and optimism, also we can mix the bravery of the color with the bravery of the revolutions which happen around us." Rayyes uses expressionism in order to give the audience the opportunity to fly with his imagination.
Art in every house
With the beginning of this year, Rayyes announced on his facebook personal profile page that he is going to give a gift for all art lovers. He wrote, "Love is a language of act, not just words. So, I will not talk too much, and I'll express my love for you by an act of beauty. For all my art lover friends, for you, wherever you are, whatever language or nationality you are, my gift in 2011is a painting for each one of you; may the painting combine us."
"It really have combined us," Rayyes says explaining that "this initiative had a wide spread among art lovers in general; I sent paintings to several countries in the world in China, USA, Britain, Norway, Russia and many other Western and Arab countries. There is nothing has the best ability to unite hearts more than art, and my initiative aimed to plant art in every house." He announced at that time, "if you wanted to get a painting from my works, all you should do is just sending me an email and you will get a painting with your name on it," focusing that "this initiative really had a wide spread and it worked on destroying all restrains between the painting and the audience, and it came with the beginning of the revolutions," the Syrian artist adds, "I do not want to say that I felt an unknown feeling which pushes me to fly in the world through my paintings, but since the beginning of the Arab revolutions spring, I realized the secret of enthusiasm inside me which I had not understand before."
Then Rayyes decided to end his initiative and start again after the beginning of the Syrian revolution. "The revolution in my country, Syria, is the dream that I have lived within, lived for to see it. With the beginning of the revolution, I decided to be part of it especially after the first martyr, so I launched my initiative (A Painting for Every Martyr). He adds, "but I did not go on because I did not imagine that death will cover my country like this; my heart and soul got tired so I decided to stop and observe in grief."
The Revolution mural
With the rise of the martyrs number in Syria, Rayyes said, "I felt that I am against a real problem; I want to be a part of what is going on in my country, and assist the free throats there, but I did not imagine that the number of martyrs will reach this level so I decided to speak of Syria through a mural in which I document the martyrs with all their hopes, dreams, disappointments and feelings," adding that he wishes to draw all songs and traditional music of the revolution in a mural which will express free Syria, pointing that this mural "is like a document which talks about everything have happened in Syria; I will record the moment with all its colors."
An Artist Biography
- Born in Damascus, Syria (1970)
- An artist and a short story writer.
- Member of Fine Arts Union in Syria.
- Member of Emirates Society of Fine Arts, Sharja.
- Graduated with Agriculture Engineering degree, Damascus University.
- Participated in many solo and group exhibitions in many countries.
- Freelance columnist in several newspapers and websites.
Translated by: Yazan el-Haj