Mohamed Al Jazairi
This time, Sarmad Almoussawi raises his lyricism in an engaged emotional zenith that couples the letter with clay, lifting up the earthly element as a glazed product that does not suffice itself with the weight of its material, visual and symbolic significance that takes the form of the content of belonging. Rather, he bets on the sublime quality work that rises up to the entirety of beauty, in a state of Gnostic coupling, something like the revelations of lovers. That was evident in his murals that could be viewed as iconic artworks. The artist realized another coupling in his calligraphic works.
However, this realization was not confined to color and touch only but also to that brightness as if it the spark of revelation that takes us to the spirituality of domes, especially when the golden color is based on the turquoise background. This was not a hatching but rather part and parcel of the content and form of the work. As such, the form and content intermingle in an emotional union, summing up that national legacy of Islamic architecture and the eternal inscriptions thereupon as a sort of ornamentation. The artist stresses a technical skill that he excels in performing. Sarmad presents them in the murals and their harmonious backdrops, represented in standing solids like sublime figures, or signifying movement that reminds us of the beauty of the attractive female.
In the external clothing of the works, Sarmad makes use of the complexion of the memory of the land of the forefathers and Mesopotamian scenery.
Some of his forms take us to an expressive summary that looks like faces with fascinating “profiles” that do not hide the traces of time. It brings us closer to personified figures. The process is a technical metaphor that encompasses the known and the unknown.
The letter “H” (has) is shown going out of its imprisonment, aspiring to enter an open space freedom that may not comply with the conditions. Therefore, the artist creates a coupling relationship between the brown and sky “blue” as if it was a relationship between the earth and heaven. This is an agnostic movement that springs out stabbed and carried over the symbolic terrains that signify deeper and farther meanings. However, these movements were not mere ornamentations but worked on the zone of visualization as aesthetic units that enhance meaning, belonging and identity.
The same thing applies to the letter “wow” (O) which rises up to revelation, leaving the earth, through the use of the golden color that creates harmony. In another work, Sarmad takes us to an African aesthetic approach. The shape of the shield is not out of the geographic context. It reflects the readiness of the African fighter in his primitive means of defense. Therefore, the artist introduces the symbol of the spear as parallel to the shield within the texture. There is no spear without the shield in order to complete the image of the fighter.
In other works, Sarmad focuses on the spirituality of the parallel friezes according to the structures, general and special, the whole and part. This means that the elements in their engagement in a panoramic scene made use of the Iraqi architectures that were revealed in parallel with local ornamental units taken from the structures of windows, carpet designs and the spirit of Arabesque.
In his horizontal round solids and figures based on ground foundations, Sarmad stresses the idea of belonging. He uses architectural scenes that are coupled with letters and their significance, diversification of geometric forms and their beauty, colors that symbolize heritage and nature, as well as the use of functional artistic items like dishes, pottery works with their abstract symbolism of the human body, reflecting, all in all, Sarmad’s keenness to highlight the sublime value of his selections from the Quranic text as in the verse “And thy Lord shall give thee and you will be satisfied”. Thus, the artist takes us in a process of engagement to write on his signboard his passion of belonging, his hard joy, in a fascinating skill that reflects the fertility of that mixture of the elements of water, dust, fire and the chemistry of colors, showing the nature of oxides, beauty of letters that make clay see, speak and sing…
Belonging is a passion!
Mohamed Al Jazairi
Mohamed Al Nuri
No day passes without seeing him playing with his pen some raw sketches on pieces of paper. When I come back to see him a few days later, I find that what I had seen was changed into harmonized masses of clay, covered, here and there, with Arabic letters written in Kofi or Thulth-Jelly scripts.
In his meditations, Sarmad Almoussawi adopts an approach that differs from the ones that we used to see. He has been influenced by the giants of Mesopotamian ceramists of the twentieth century. Yet, he took a style that distinguished him from others.
Modern ceramics in Iraq started at an early stage and relied on the huge heritage of the Sumerian, Acadian, Babylonian and Assyrian potteries as the civilization of Mesopotamia was by itself a civilization of clay. Important names gleamed in the history of modern ceramics to the extent that we thought that this art is present in every Iraqi house. In the depths of Sarmad Almoussawi there is some thing that has not moved yet. It lies dormant like a huge clay giant. I used to watch him writing in ancient Sumerian letters one of the most beautiful expressions on his fresh piece of clay. When I asked him why he chose Sumerian letters, he used to respond in a philosophy that convinced me to link the present with thousands of years that went by, as if he reincarnated the personality of that Sumerian ceramist who left the most beautiful heritage in this fine art.
Once he completed his project, Sarmad moved to beautiful acts that were not far off the ancient Mesopotamian pottery. Rather, it was a continuation of that art.
These changes resulted from the influence of Islamic art on Sarmad, especially the art of ceramics that formed a large proportion of that art. Sarmad has always been trying to highlight the intellectual and philosophic signification of slender letters or abstract ornaments. Sarmad has been enchanted by all calligraphic legacies, shattered among the museums of the world, talking about the greatness of Islamic art.
Almoussawi is an excellent reader. I find this aspect in his works that reflect his intellectual stock in his art. Sarmad’s ceramics peep, as if his works steel a look at or eavesdrop sometimes to make us listen to them as if they were telling one thousand and one tales about a country that has been dismembered by several invasions over thousands of years, devastating this heritage. Therefore, it is a return to start or a start to return or as Sarmad likes to describe it as the coupling or engaging of the past with the present.
Al Musawi’s soft touch of his ceramics is one of the hardest stages that the ceramist adopts. It is a difficult exam that one may not pass. That was one of the characteristics of the late Iraqi artist, Saad Shakir. Al musawi’s experience is characterized by transferring the spaces of the letter, color, mass and vacuum from an ornamental work to a museum art with distinction.
Mohamed Al Nuri
Mohamed Mehdi Hemadah
Infatuation with Visual Construction and Contrast in Sarmad Al
Mohamed Mehdi Hemadah
Professor of Art History – Sharjah Art Institute.
The ceramics and paintings of the Iraqi artist, Sarmad Almoussawi, intermingle in a set of distinguishing features of his accomplishments. Sarmad is an artist who is infatuated with simplicity and artistic structure, mixing between the silent solid and writing blocs that consist of individual letters that visually succeed and spread over the space of their existence or through significant words that find their way to the plastic art form which complies with their implications.
Sarmad Almoussawi seeks to create a visual contrast between two surfaces. The first consists of letters and Arabic inscriptions. The second, however, seems void of any inscription. At the same time, it responds to the color and feeling impacts that constitute its visual texture, often, dominated by a set of the dusty color grades and blue ones symbolizing the borders of the world in its land and sky. There are other color grades including the golden and red colors in different levels.
Thus, Almoussawi continues his endeavor to establish special visual alphabets, through relying on a number of individual visual units that he subjects to repetition, composition and derivation. The artists uses other plastic art solutions and practices to give his works the individuality that reveals itself in modern ceramics that depend on inspiring their external forms from the bodies of letters that the artist managed to modify to adapt them to a plastic frame that is capable of proving its presence through continuous search and experimentation.
Translated into English by: Shakir Hassan