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Ambiguous Paintings That Bring Scenes of Migration to Mind

Ambiguous Paintings That Bring Scenes of Migration to Mind

Monday, 15 February, 2021 - 12:15
Jad's paintings incorporate cinematic techniques (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Egyptian artist Yasser Jad presented a conceptual vision with a degree of cinematic poetry, with shadows of people covering the paintings at his new self-entitled exhibition that will be on display in the Khan el-Maghrabi Hall for Plastic Arts until February 19.

The exhibition is part of Yasser Jad’s new project, Al Mashhad Al Akheer (The Last Scene), which is inspired by Carlos Saura’s Argentine- Spanish film Tango.

Jad tells Asharq Al-Awsat he “is indebted to this genius director whose works I am still learning a lot from.”

Tango depicts the massive wave of European migration to Argentina during the late 19th and early 20th century, which saw mostly Italians and Spaniards, but also those from other nationalities, flock to the country.

Jad builds his visual world with cinematic concepts, as though he is directing his groups inside his paintings’ cadres, incorporating cinematic elements into work by using cinematographic tools. Examining their expressions through light and shadow, he colors his cotton paper with charcoal to grant his figures and protagonists remarkable expressive capacities. He believes that art is in constant need of novel solutions and experimentation: “experimental solutions leave my works surpassing my expectations sometimes.”

The artist leaves plenty of room for his audiences’ imagination as they contemplate his works’ empty chairs. They resemble historical ghosts, but their form leaves them brimming with stories, as do his paintings’ intertwined humans, which the artist chose to draw devoid of features, lurking between the shadows and the darkness. However, in their abstractness, they continue the stories of chairs. Jad says that he creates this distance intentionally so that we may imagine ourselves to be travelers, without knowing if we are departing or returning, whether we have arrived or still have a long way to go.

Despite the immigration scenes’ apparent gloom, the artist believes his work is biased in favor of hope. “The migration scenes, on the surface, appear to deeply express disappointment, which undoubtedly pushes us to leave, but it is by no means the last scene. Emigrating is the first scene, a beginning, which manifests a genuine will to be born again, and all kinds of migrations bring about a new sunrise.”

Perhaps migration and its abundant sentiments are issues that concern Yasser Jad, who considers them to be about humanity first and foremost: “All the themes of my works are concerned with a purely human dimension, even if this human element is not directly or clearly apparent.

"All of my work touches on my being, with it is the faces I see every day as I move around, the places I have lived or whose alleys I have passed through, or in the conceptions and elements that are pitstops in my life journey."

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