After spending six months in Oman, where I’d become tanned as if the sun had repainted me so to speak, I then decided to go to the UAE. Within a few months, I’d found a home studio from which to paint, and it so happened that the place was bathed in the setting hours of sunlight until it set in the evening over the horizon line formed by the ocean. The Middle East sunlight is strong, brisk, and providing, for it arms the desert with its equatorial sunlight. My place had a large window facing the sea. In the morning as the sun set in the evening, it took me on with it by the orange light which flooded straight into the room where I’d painted. I’d wake up fresh by the light and with ideas of what I wanted to paint. It was the order of the light.
In the twelve years that followed, nearly all of my artworks were created from these two studios in Sharjah — which were the spaces that I had eventually had to let go of before the lockdown years. The spaces inspired a different kind of canvasses. These were paintings that were borne from waking up every day and painting solely because I had ideas that I wanted to paint. There wasn’t a predetermined or pre-arranged plan for an exhibition. After a number of years, of this practice around 300 pieces were exhibited in Abu Dhabi. The Studio at the Sharjah Airport had large halls and high ceilings that were perfectly in sync with the large paintings id produced, which seemed to have found their collective destination. I suppose I was traveling with these paintings on a journey that none of us was privy to. In that way, it has been magical a journey, full of twists and turns and loads of frames.
Art like life is happening all the time. What an artist simply has to do is to seize and frame the moment. Much a street photographer, who has no control of the dynamics that surrounds him. He is a part of that movement, The artistry lies in seizing the moment after framing the subject. The inspiration is the fish caught the river of consciousness and then pulled into the frame to communicate its essence and meaning.
This thought reminds me of a comment of one of my favorite film maker – Abbas Kiarostami who began his career as an artist had an exhibition with real trees, in the gallery. He had pulled them from neighborhood and made the sarcastic comment, when media reported the event “You have to put a frame around the tree for people to notice its beauty.”
Framing requires composition and transforms an fluid creative idea into an tangible object. Something akin to tangibilizing the intangible. Many painters do the framing and composition after painting much larger pieces and then arrive at the size of the work after deciding what to keep or throw away. I do that to sometimes, particularly for the abstract work, because while painting, the flow creates random events which may not contribute to the composition. Then the art is created when it is composed a framed finally.