Iraqi Nabil Ali imitates the reality of the region in an art exhibition in Cairo | Mimoza Al-Arawi

Al-Kahila Gallery http://www.alkahila.com/ in Cairo is hosting an exhibition by modern Iraqi artist Nabil Ali entitled “Poker Cards”.

The event, the artist’s seventh solo exhibition, features thirty paintings of varying sizes, using collage and acrylic color techniques.

The Iraqi artist is committed to a key principle, which he once described by saying: “The artist is the product of his environment and is affected by the events that revolve around him, because he is part of society . I therefore see it as a duty to produce works of art that reflect what is happening in politics and to expose and reveal the ugly faces of politicians. It is unreasonable to remain neutral because that would amount to complicity.

Ali’s artistic legacy in its entirety and not just the new collection says that art in the Arab world cannot distance itself from the tragic reality of the region, despite the atmosphere of joy that emanates from the exposure.

In his past solo projects, the painter persisted in projecting his vision of art, as he dealt with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Iraq’s chronic electricity crisis. All in all, his paintings aroused the empathy of the Lebanese public, who saw in them the reflection of their own daily suffering.

Today, in “Poker Cards”, Ali continues to keep pace with everyday life. However, this exhibition seems more complete because it integrates all his concerns.

The atmosphere of ethereal joy is not devoid of childish nuances where sadness and pain are not entirely absent.

The title of the exhibition, “Poker Cards”, points to the ambivalence of reality. In his paintings, the artist speaks of possibilities and not of certainties.

The art collection is an invitation to life. He is as noisy as life and fragile and prone to disintegration. Colors seem to fade when dropped in water.

As for the characters and subjects of the works, some follow on from the themes of previous exhibitions, but with new additions that form a vast landscape of dramatic festivity.

There are women in love, men in wobbling processions next to women or other individuals in different panels, dense transparent clouds, paper boats that do not sink in water, crowns and hats on top of heads, moving Arabian horses, laden with fruit symbols such as apples, pomegranates, palm trees and aromatic plants whose scent reaches the soul of the visitor, and portraits of mythical animals such only large birds, sparrows, roosters and miniature musical instruments.

Roaring blue and green colors remain dominant in most paintings. They were always present in the background, along with the brown and sand colors in earlier paintings, especially when the artwork exposed political corruption.

James C. Tibbs