Ziad Haider

The Duality of Light and Darkness
contributed by Adnan Husayn Ahmed

The experience of the artist, Ziad Haidar, is distinguished by its investigation into the unseen areas of man's depths. Apart from his interest in existence we see him plunge into the deepest parts of the memory and examine its fields in quest of the remains of gold as well as the legacy of the successive Iraqi civilizations, including the pearls of ideas and the slivers of sharp feelings. Such ideas and feelings flare in our inmost beings in order to recollect thousands of years all at once, so the remote past would become present and liable to be touched, seen and tasted through its elegance and freshness while the remote future would be similar to the modern times that can be conceived with absolute certainty.The artist, Ziad Haidar, has also a profound vision: he views the disordered world as if it were based on the idea of dissociation and association . Through coupling and combination the foregoing artist provides us with his visual works which highly attract the attentions of both critics and viewers alike. For, throughout his relatively long artistic experience he could take an important course in the Iraqi visual scene.

Ziad Haidar is renowned for his diligence and spontaneous transition from one stage to another. Further, he disapproves the idea of shortening the artistic stages. However, he does not conceal his courage in dealing with the picture and its infinite space. Although he has been influenced, like his companions, by the successive artistic movements, both local and foreign, he has endeavored to be unique and independent. He has thus attempted from the beginning to (according to his expression) create a personal museum for himself. He thinks that any artistic achievement is indicative of the artist's particularity. For this reason, he has seriously looked for the essence of the creative process that does not appeal but to those who are engrossed in it and its various atmospheres. On this basis, the path he has chosen is both prickly and twisted, yet filled with remarkable surprises for those who take upon themselves the hardship of inquiry, experiment and investigation. Mr Haidar is indeed counted as one of those who always search for variety and difference. Let us now discuss the main themes from which Ziad Haidar stems in order to establish his artistic experience. The artist believes that he can dispose of everything during the process of drawing with the exception of the memory, considering that it only represents what is current and repeated out of the experiences, visions and thoughts. As for (the faculty of) imagination, however, it remains the tempting mine that cannot be arrived at except by the real creative personalities who are deeply obsessed with the notions of change, uniqueness and exception. Creativity is tantamount to an attempt to pluck off the unseen part of the fascinating faculty of imagination. Here comes Mr Haidar to liberate himself from the foregoing unintentional flaw, thus he says: "I continually endeavor to fill up the memory." Here the artist picks the missing thread and holds fast the pulsating vein of the experience. For filling up the memory cannot be performed except through (the faculty of) imagination. In light of this, the artist is invited to review his theoretical projects in accordance with his aesthetic vision which he aspires to achieve.

The second theme is related to the duality of light and darkness which counts as the most crucial point in the artistic experience of Ziad Haidar. For both of his philosophy of life and his artistic presence rest on this duality through which we can assess his works exhibited in Jordan, Syria, Belgium, Finland, Poland, some Holland cities and Amsterdam where he stays. For the artist is engrossed in the dialectic of light and darkness. There is an ostentatious world wherein the bows of glittering colors are intersected; however there is an extremely dark world opposite to it. In between there is an ash-colored space that may not necessarily express the characteristics of the foregoing two contradictories. Nonetheless, the present artist who has come from the ruins of Um Ishin carries within his soul a twinkle of nostalgia for some transparent grief that cannot be recognized except by those who enjoy a high level of mystical ecstasy of love.

As regards the third point that preoccupies the artist's memory, it is his feeling that he is either on the periphery of the memory or is thrown out of the museum. The foregoing urges us to refer to Burger's words upon which the artist, Ziad Haidar, relies. Burger says: "We will not be affected by the presence of a statue in a museum inasmuch as we are affected and provoked by its presence in a hole on the open road. For in the first case it is a self-existent form, while in the second case it has been changed into an object of surprise and inquiry." This matter applies to the creative work and its position which should be distinctive among the expert observers or even the public on a lesser level. As for the presence of the Iraqi artist in exile as if he were outside the museum or had fallen in a forgotten hole on the open road, it is merely a negative supposition, and no more. For the artist may turn to a lost or peripheral human being when he fails to lay his impressions on the identity of his age. However, it just represents a sense of (local) separation from one's homeland, family and friends.

As for the creative achievement forwarded by Mr Haidar, we may say that the artist has succeeded in supporting his artistic projects through his well-known techniques, i.e., cutting, pasting and designing while subjecting his new works to some colored experiments that have become too familiar to us. For Ziad Haidar naturally, tends to the ancient colors stemming from the coal, ink, or the like to such an extent that he could communicate the intended darkness to us, and then he would start his real illuminations which proceed from different areas with accuracy and attention. The foregoing invites us to feel surprised at his unique ability in spreading the illuminating flashes in the body of the picture which he has subjected to an accurately designable experiment.

Moreover, we should not forget the artist's skill at shortening the structures, forms , subjects and lines through the triplet of cutting, pasting and designing so that be would make his paintings reach their utmost abstract extent. The artist who succeeds in making the most of the foregoing triplet can produce crucial artistic samples taken from familiar forms and shapes which we encounter everyday without attracting our attention. However, only the creative artist could attach an artistic dimension to them by means of the duality of deletion and addition or by way of the positional treatment of this or that part of the general structure. And last but not the least, we would like to remind the reader that the artist, Ziad Haidar, is not a peripheral human being, or rather, he is a distinguished artist who lives at the core of the artistic event and advances everyday in the realm of the creative process.

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