Ibrahim Khatab | Alive Memory
Eclectica Contemporary welcomes Egyptian artist Ibrahim Khatab’s exhibition “Alive Memory” to it’s gallery. The work showcases the artist’s deep love of calligraphy through a collection of paintings, which demonstrate his love for colour, space and arabic script which all factor heavily in his art.
The painter Pablo Picasso once said “If I had known there was such a thing as Islamic Calligraphy, I would never have started to paint. I have strived to reach the highest levels of artistic mastery, but I found that Islamic Calligraphy was there ages before I was.”
Ibrahim Khatab’s appreciation for calligraphy resonates with that of Pablo’s. And he fell in love with the arabic script when he was 10 year’s old. He honed his skill and used his talent as a source of income by designing banners for commercial spaces and beautifying the pilgrims’ houses who had arrived from Mecca.
As such calligraphy and language is very central to Ibrahim’s designs and he favours the use of everyday “ slang” of the Egyptian language. He describes it as “language that can’t be read but just dealt with” – practical and functional. This is due to the continuous process of emission and addition to language by people. Ibrahim uses both the Thuluth and Diwani Arabic script, the former is considered sacred calligraphy. The soft decorative lines exude a kind of peace and the dark contours add a sombre mood of sorts and colour perceptions are critical .
What is most striking about his work is that it presents and a mix of gaiety and sadness. This is because he has been inspired by the process of loss and memory and his art speaks of this on various levels. He observed the words and sentences lovers used to write to each other on walls and trees. He explains that these words will stand the test of time even when those who wrote them are long gone.
These rocks and trees carry the feelings of what lovers engrave on their surfaces. They witness the accumulating and overlapping effects of their intimate memories, and their merging with time . Their owners; whether those who continued to harbor those feelings, or separated. These carvings manifest itself to the passersby and they merge with their own memories After all these rocks and trees still witness their memories that get harder sturdier, and get old as their owners do with time.
The repetition in his designs illustrates the continuity of action through time and space. The scratches implies time’s mark on the human body “like the memories that can never be forgotten”.
The vividness of his brushwork now turned, not thin, but toned down, a particularly effective application of acrylic. There is, indeed, a sacredness in tears as Washington Irving once mused. “They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”