Renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma has ventured into a new artistic realm with his inaugural art exhibition, Half Life, at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery. The exhibition is a dynamic collection of over 70 paintings that trace Shamma’s artistic evolution over four decades. Each painting tells a visual story that captures the emotions, experiences, and landscapes that have shaped his journey.

The opening of the exhibition was attended by VIP guests, including Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who offered his patronage to the event. To set the tone for the exhibition, Shamma performed a mesmerizing oud recital, blending the world of music and art seamlessly.

Shamma’s approach to art is deeply rooted in his concern for humanity, particularly those facing challenges such as famine, war, and natural disasters. Drawing inspiration from his role as a musician and a UNESCO Artist for Peace, Shamma uses his artwork to navigate the dialectics of abundance and scarcity, inviting viewers to reflect on the human condition.

The paintings in Half Life boast a vibrant color palette, filled with volcanic tones, fiery hues, and sandy blends. These colors evoke a range of emotions, from the tragedies and ruins of mountains to the tranquility of desert warmth and serene skies. Shamma’s use of layered colors creates a textured and multidimensional effect, effectively drawing the viewer into the depths and movements within each artwork.

The collection also features captivating spring flowers, infusing the exhibition with natural beauty, renewal, and hope. Shamma’s paintings serve as a visual symphony, resonating with the diversity of musical notes within each maqam (musical scale). Just as music can evoke different emotions, he assigns colors to musical notes, creating a harmonious interplay between sound and vision.

Shamma’s journey as an artist began in Baghdad in the 1980s and has taken him to places like Tunisia, Jordan, and Egypt. Initially, he created paintings solely for his personal enjoyment, unaware of their potential significance. It was only when friends and gallery owners discovered his hidden artworks that Shamma realized the power and impact of his creations.

His paintings are crafted using acrylic on canvas, with an unexpected ingredient: the sawdust of the oud. Shamma repurposes the sawdust generated during the manufacturing process, infusing it with colors and mixtures to create a textured and three-dimensional element in his artwork. This unique approach showcases his innovation and commitment to sustainability.

For Shamma, art and music are not mere forms of entertainment but essential channels for navigating life’s complexities. He believes that through art, individuals can find expression, release stress, and articulate their thoughts and emotions about the world and its challenges, even if they struggle to do so in other mediums.

Hassan Nadhem, former Iraqi Minister of Culture, describes Shamma’s paintings as capturing a vivid array of scenes and believes that drawing is silent music while music is a painting that speaks. This fusion of artistic mediums showcased in Half Life reflects the artist’s multifaceted talents and his ability to transcend traditional boundaries.

Naseer Shamma’s Half Life exhibition is a testament to his artistic evolution and his boundless creativity. Visitors to the Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi can immerse themselves in the captivating world of Shamma’s paintings until March 8, 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Naseer Shamma’s Half Life Exhibition:

Q: What is Naseer Shamma’s Half Life exhibition about?
A: The Half Life exhibition is a collection of over 70 paintings by renowned Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma. It showcases his artistic evolution over four decades and captures emotions, experiences, and landscapes that have shaped his journey.

Q: Who attended the opening of the exhibition?
A: The opening of the exhibition was attended by VIP guests, including Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who offered his patronage to the event.

Q: What is the connection between music and art in Shamma’s exhibition?
A: Shamma’s exhibition blends the worlds of music and art seamlessly. He uses his role as a musician and a UNESCO Artist for Peace to navigate the dialectics of abundance and scarcity. Just as music can evoke different emotions, he assigns colors to musical notes, creating a harmonious interplay between sound and vision.

Q: How does Shamma’s use of colors in his paintings impact viewers?
A: The paintings in Half Life boast a vibrant color palette, evoking a range of emotions. The use of layered colors creates a textured and multidimensional effect, drawing viewers into the depths and movements within each artwork.

Q: What role do spring flowers play in the exhibition?
A: The collection features captivating spring flowers, infusing the exhibition with natural beauty, renewal, and hope. They serve as a visual symphony, resonating with the diversity of musical notes within each maqam (musical scale).

Q: What materials does Shamma use to create his paintings?
A: Shamma’s paintings are crafted using acrylic on canvas. An unexpected ingredient used is the sawdust of the oud. He repurposes the sawdust generated during the manufacturing process, infusing it with colors and mixtures to create a textured and three-dimensional element in his artwork. This showcases his innovation and commitment to sustainability.

Q: What is the significance of art and music in Shamma’s life?
A: Shamma believes that art and music are not mere forms of entertainment but essential channels for navigating life’s complexities. He sees them as ways for individuals to find expression, release stress, and articulate their thoughts and emotions about the world and its challenges.

Q: How can visitors experience Shamma’s paintings?
A: Visitors can immerse themselves in the captivating world of Naseer Shamma’s paintings at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi until March 8, 2024.

Key Terms and Jargon:

1. Oud: A pear-shaped stringed musical instrument commonly used in Middle Eastern and North African music.
2. Maqam: A system of melodic modes used in traditional Arabic music.
3. Acrylic: A type of paint that uses acrylic polymers as a binder, resulting in fast drying and versatile properties.
4. Sawdust: Fine particles of wood produced by sawing or sanding.

Suggested Related Links:
Etihad Modern Art Gallery
Naseer Shamma’s official website