Nabad Art Gallery housed  the newest collection of Iraqi artist Mohammed Al Shammarey’s work in Amman. The collection is a visual response to the poem On this Earth by Mahmoud Darwish. Each work of art unfolds one or more verses by the poet. The spectator is left in search of the quotes within each piece, as humans – in a broader sense- search for life in details. In Al Shammarey’s words:    

Great disasters no longer cause me as much pain as small sorrows. We have become familiar with death–it has been domesticated–but noble grief still finds its way into my soul; grief for the loss of what makes life worth living on this earth (grass growing on stone, sunshine in a prison, a woman leaving her forties in splendor). These marginal notes, which point out the power of life, guided me toward achieving my project, ‘Earth’, inspired by the poem of Mahmoud Darwish. I worked on the project while he was in hospital, after completing his mural, which was acquired by the British Museum. Life has become more powerful, with its delicate margins, and neglected details.
From ‘Earth’ series, Nabad Gallery

Earth is a compilation of abstract artworks with a joint colour scheme contrasting Blacks with Whites and Reds. What is special about this collection is its depiction of Darwish’s poem using different mediums and forms of art; paintings, collages, sculptures, installations digital prints, and even a hologram.

Hologram fan ‘Peace’, courtesy of the artist’s instagram page

One visitor stated: “I liked that the artist used mixed media on different forms… the hologram fan and structure have surely complemented the experience” while another said “the Hologram fan is a great piece; I wonder how it was made!”

Mu`allaqat (Suspended Odes) installation, painted olive wood, acrylic glass and wirea

Mu’allaqat (Suspended Odes) is one of the more astonishing works. This installation is made of olive tree branches and twigs that are painted in white, gathered in a suspended cloud shape with verses from the poem written on them. 256 wire strings hold the installation in space. A depiction of man’s everlasting struggle in finding eternal meaning of life and home amidst a puzzle of intersected thoughts and the legacy of the past.   

From postal card series

The theme of home is also recurring in the collection. In a collage series of postal stamps from Iraq and Palestine adhered on canvas, the works echo the names of the lands. Some postcards are seen torn apart, while others are seen stitched back in an attempt to restore the long lost joy of what was worth living for.

Earth is a journey of tingling existential thoughts triggered by the quote “on this earth what makes life worth living”. A show not to be missed, it is ongoing until the 5th of December at Nabad Art Gallery.

All images courtesy indicated in captions