Movement and Memories

Movement and Memories

In his recent exhibition, titled Nostalgia, held at Wadi Finan Art Gallery in Jordan, the emerging local artist, Fadi Daoud, used his linear style to evoke memories of happier times that he believes will resonate with a worldwide audience

 


Mid-thirties seems a somewhat young age to create a show on the theme of nostalgia, don’t you think?

I can understand why some people might arrive at that conclusion, but there were reasons I chose that particular theme for the show, including the timing. I’d arrived back in Jordan, after spending eight years studying in Florence, and was finding it difficult to express myself through painting. Like everyone else around me, I was disappointed and demoralised by the conflicts and political tensions in the region. I felt that they were weighing me down and affecting my creativity, so decided instead that I’d try returning to the things I missed from the past - memories that made me happy. 

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery


Nostalgia is known to produce a mix of emotions in us, ranging from sadness to pleasure as we remember times gone by. How did you set about relaying these emotions in your work?

Actually, I prefer to focus on the happy moments of life in my art and send out a positive message. In some ways, I believe that’s more of a challenge than relaying sadness; that would be easy! To give an example, I spent around two years trying to achieve my grandmother’s smile on canvas. I had to work from memory as unfortunately, she became ill a few years back and is now unable to emit any kind of facial expression or emotion, other than with her eyes. I wanted to retrieve that smile and look which said so much about her. She was tough, but could light up the world with her smile. These were the kind of challenges I set myself when working on this project.

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery

 

Some of the protagonists you chose for Nostalgia were people you know, like your grandmother, while others appear to be more random. How did you choose your subjects?

I don’t think of the subjects in my paintings as personalised, even if I know them. They might be familiar to me, but I believe that by painting them, I’m taking my feelings and sharing them with the outside world. At this point, they stop being personal. For example, the experience that I have drawn on when painting my grandmother will be one that many can relate to, whether it’s a similar situation, with someone they love who can no longer express themselves easily, or a different kind of issue, like refugees who are currently disconnected and unable to communicate with loved ones. Perhaps some people have to resort to communicating via social media and are struggling to gauge the emotions of the people they are talking to. So while, in the early stages, I delve into my heart to find a theme and draw on my personal feelings, these emotions are being felt everywhere, across the globe.

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery

 

Tell us about The Player, which was a highlight of the show

I started out with the concept of the whirling dervish; I was fascinated by the idea of constant movement and the way that the dervish flies around. Then I began to think more about the concept of manipulation, about how it’s easier for people to play with feelings and fool others when they’re flitting around and constantly on the move. I wanted to relay the motion of ever-decreasing circles, how there is a hierarchy of manipulators from the top down, each, in turn, transferring their own agenda on to the smaller guy. They all are players and we are all being played!

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery


You listen to traditional music, including works by Umm Kalthoum, Asmahan and Fairouz, while you work. What part does that play in inspiring your art?

Once again, the aspect of movement in music is what really fascinates me and inspires me to think how I can relay that on canvas. Movement is everywhere, whether it’s people walking in the streets or the moon orbiting the earth. The rhythic patterns and intervals between the notes in the music are a huge stimulus when I’m trying to relay the beauty of movement. It’s important to have these tools of support to hand; after all, when you’re trying to paint the wind, it’s the movement alone that you’re looking to capture, and that’s a huge challenge. 

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery


What was the response from visitors to Nostalgia?

I was really happy with the feedback I received. I think some visitors were unaware of the technique I use, which involves drawing only in straight lines, so they were fascinated to discover that this was how I work. I developed this particular method while studying for my Master’s in Islamic Art, which I undertook in Florence. I’d been searching for my own style and experimenting over the years with various aspects of geometry and Islamic motifs, in particular, during the eight years I spent travelling in Europe. I was drawn to the French post-Impressionist painter, Georges-Pierre Seurat, who uses dots to create his paintings, but then, about 10 years ago, I discovered lines, and suddenly I knew this was the way I wanted to work. 

Nostalgia by Fadi Daoud at Wadi Finan Art Gallery

 


Fadi Daoud
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