September 8th 2018 – Wadi Finan embraces the magnificent work of Mohannad Orabi’s Moments series in open arms. The brilliance of this Syrian artist’s exhibition is reminiscent of the feeling of home that rushes back after years of distance; giving back a sense of familiarity of the typical Arabic household. Orabi’s collection consists of feminine figures and faces, with much of the messages’ emphasis being placed on the movement of the eyes. Upon one’s stepping into the venue in Jabal Amman, the loud of voice of culture, tradition and familial intimacy is heard through the delicate looks displayed on his paintings.

Mohannad Orabi, from ‘Moments’ series, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018

I was honoured to have the chance to speak with Mohannad Orabi himself, to acquire the first-hand vision of being a creative of such impeccable ability to portray emotion.

Q- Can you give us a general abstract on what Moments is all about?

My relationship and concern with the concept of family and childhood form the foundation of my work. Family is what is grounded as right; the right education, the right future etc… On the contrary, nowadays we hear a lot about families that get separated from each other and lose their homes due of unbeatable circumstances. How do I showcase this issue? A lot of influence can be taken from the relationship between a child and their mother. From my experience, a part of my inspiration is my daughter. Simply, these thoughts and memories turn into paintings. I don’t like to overthink what I do, I kind of just like to live the moment just as it is. When I feel upset, I paint. When I feel lonely, another different painting comes up. Each piece has a mood independent of the other.
Mohannad Orabi, from ‘Moments’ series, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018

Q- Are these paintings mostly derived from your own personal life or do you also observe what other people experience and create replicas?”

Any human being is a part of the experience another human is going through as well as the surrounding environment. The way that I translate that is through my work, and sometimes more specifically through color. For example, there is a strong presence of the colors blue and red in this current exhibition. The mood tells how the outcome of the colors will result as. When that emotion is reflected with honesty, it reaches the audience with honesty as well. There isn’t a traditional way that I paint in, I always try to switch techniques and tools. Sometimes, colors have a much bolder emphasis than the lines or strokes of the brush. Sometimes, there are spontaneous details that get thrown out of the blue without being planned out, forming a coincidence and an accumulation of blended colors. This process resonates to what being a human is like. With ups and downs, personalities are formed.
Mohannad Orabi, from ‘Moments’ series, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018

Q- Is there a unified message that comes out of every painting?

I don’t address my work as paintings, I address them as collections. I named this exhibition Moments because I truly was living certain moments of impulse during the preparation and making of this exposition. A lot of it comes from a state of waiting for something specific, other times it was from loneliness, anger and love. Every one of these moments got replicated into a different piece.
Mohannad Orabi, from ‘Moments’ series, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018

Suha Lallas , Gallery Director of Wadi Finan comments on Orabi’s work in the following:

I’ve always followed Mohannad Orabi’s career path in the arts. In my opinion, the most catching features are the eyes and the nose. The other thing that I love in this specific piece of work is the layer and the under-colors used, his composition, and the fact that the faces shown are childlike and innocent.
Mohannad Orabi, from ‘Moments’ series, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2018

With the inter-reference and rise of fusions of oriental and foreign artwork, Mohannad Orabi breaks this cycle through pulling an audience back to a pure, nostalgic atmosphere; with an air of comfort and solace. He leaves spectators in awe at their arrival, as though his works are directions back home, found after a lengthy road of searching for peace.

All images courtesy of Wadi Finan Art Gallery