Gorka Mohamed is interested in latest body work in questioning the stereotypes and cliches of Arab culture projected by the West and vice versa through popular culture and mass media. Through his art practice, he conveys the existential frustration of belonging to a complex identity. In his paintings and drawings, one can find certain anxiety to visually unravel the different weaves and layers of his social environment. The artist attempts to reflect on what psychologically affects human beings in a socio-cultural reality as if by presenting the toxic found in humanity, it would work as the catalyst for its own remedy. His approach in painting could be compared with the process of constructing sculptures or assemblages. Besides, the paintings embrace a polymorphous perversity close to the one that takes place in classical cartoons. Although humour, at a glance, may not be intuited, it is very present in his works. The characters intrinsically carry stories with them, from which emanate a peculiar character.This is often manifested through the juxtaposition of opposites such as, for example, the unusual and the banal. There are various representations of the minaret Al-Hadba from Mosul, which was destroyed by Daesh in 2017. It has been a recurring motif in my art practice during the past few years. Mainly because my roots are in Mosul I’ve been focusing on the Al-Hadba minaret; using it as a metaphor of resilience as I believe such strong symbols will never disappear for the people who live or had lived in Mosul (even though they are mainly destroyed) . Furthermore I believe that by insisting on the continuous appearance of the minaret in my art becomes a way to establish hope and contradict the reality; as by rebuilding what is destroyed through the act of drawing becomes equal as raising oneself or your community.
The New Sumerians Project
Sundus Abdul Hadi
Born in 1985 in Baghdad, and lives in Ontario, Canada.
Digital Composite Image & Photography
Around 7,000 years ago, an ancient civilization known as the Sumerians settled along the banks of the Euphrates river, modern day Iraq. Their story gives clues as to our origin. Time was established as we still perceive it, and their advanced understanding of the cosmos and astronomy suggests that our ancestors had a certain access to the celestial sphere that has since been lost in translation.
THE NEW SUMERIANS is an evolving project that honours the ancestry we carry as displaced peoples. In collaboration with photographer Ahmad Nasereldein, I have created portraits that I have manipulated with the sculpted facial and body parts of Ancient Sumerians, starting with the 5,000 year old mask of “The Lady of Uruk”. This iteration begins with my origin story: my family— the microcosm. This process of transformation pays homage to our celestial ancestors, despite the passage of time and the circumstances that have propelled us away from our homeland.
These ancient sculptures carry our burdens and have witnessed our pillage. The New Sumerians is part of a larger exploration rooted in storytelling and world-building; a supernatural dimension where ancestors live amongst the unborn, and intergenerational burdens transform into wisdom.