This summer I passed by Ayyam Gallery to view 'It's No Longer About Me' a solo show by Syrian artist Mohannad Orabi. Orabi was born in Damascus, Syria in 1977 and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art in 2000. His work are typically portraits of the ‘symbolic self’ and the stylized protagonists convey innocence. ‘I can’t really explain all the things that inspired me to come out with this collection, but it’s definitely influenced by the people’s pain in my country, old pictures of my parents and sister (who I lost in the past) and the vagueness of the future,’ says Orabi. ‘All these things have left a print inside of me and are reflected in my portraits. I use sand melted with particular materials to give the surface the feeling of a wall or a piece of land, as if I’m drawing my portraits on my land and on my walls. This is a way of expressing my attachment – and anybody’s attachment – to land, country, home, family and memories.’
One of the aspects I love most about his work, is the texture that is created with the compositional use of gridded dots which represent the accumulation of memories, feelings and experiences in one’s life,” the artist says.