On view from October 31 through December 15, this forthcoming exhibition will involve a new installation of recent paintings and videos. Together, these works revolve around a narrative that the artist describes as “Eyes which stare into nothingness, and a hand that dreads the void.” Emphasizing the collective, which he often combines with the personal, Alfraji introduces the exhibition by stating, “Fastened to our places we are, intoxicated by the illusion of motion and ruminating on dreams.”
His large-scale paintings on paper, which are executed in Indian ink, charcoal and rice, possess a notable fragility, much like the solemn, shadowy figure that reappears in his work as part of an ongoing exploration of man amidst a heightened sense of desolation and conflict. Frequently working with philosophical undertones, he incorporates literary references in the titles of his paintings and videos as a means of placing his anonymous figure within the plight of humanity.
The ancient Greek story of Sisyphus, who is condemned to rolling a large boulder up a steep hill for eternity, extends Alfraji’s visual description of a world in which the outcome of modern events appears bleak. Returning to a previous series surrounding the Samuel Beckett play “Waiting for Godot,” in which he utilized the twentieth century drama as a metaphor for our contemporary existence, he elucidates a perpetual state of longing that lingers above a purgatory-like temporality.
Born in Baghdad in 1960, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji studied at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts in Iraq, from which he graduated with a diploma and degree in plastic arts, respectively. After leaving his native country in the early 1990s, in 2000 he pursued a High Diploma in Graphic Design from the CHK Constantijn Huygens in the Netherlands, where he is now based. Having participated in countless exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the US since the 1980s, his work is housed in the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art in Iraq, The National Gallery of Fine Arts and the Shoman Foundation in Jordan, the Novosibirsk State Art Museum in Russia, and the Cluj-Napoca Art Museum in Romania. Recently, he was commissioned to produce new work for “Told/Untold/Retold” one of the inaugural exhibitions of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar.Founded in 2006, Ayyam Gallery is one of the Middle East’s leading contemporary art spaces. With a selection of cutting-edge painting, sculpture and photography that represents some of the Arab world’s most exciting talent, the gallery has sought to promote the region's dynamic cultural scene at home and abroad.