Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts

October 18, 2019

'This Paintings Show The Fear in All Of Us': A Syrian Artist Speaks

Rashwan Abdelbaki. Title: Number 7. 31.49 x 61.02 inch. Acrylic On Canvas. 2016.
“Number 7″, by Rashwan Abdelbaki. 31.49 x 61.02 inch. Acrylic On Canvas. 2016.
While the portrait of Syria has been painted in the media mostly with images of war and destruction, Syrian artist Rashwan Abdelbaki has sought opportunities to challenge stereotypes and perceptions that ignore or disregard a country that “has provided much to enrich human civilization” and “represents a wonderful mosaic of more than 18 religions.”
Born in the southern Syrian city of As-Suwayda and now living in New York, Abdelbaki, 35, began showing interest in the arts from his teenage years. In 2003, he found his way to the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, where he received a bachelor’s degree in printmaking techniques.
His works explore some of the most pressing issues of our time including immigration, racism, religion, and politics, with vivid colors and dynamic interactions creating an ongoing conversation and capturing the imagination of his audiences.
Last Supper, First Wall. 78.74 x 129.92 inch. Acrylic On Canvas. 2017.
“Last Supper”, by Rashwan Abdelbaki. First Wall. 78.74 x 129.92 inch. Acrylic On Canvas. 2017.
In September 2016, Abdelbaki received a one-year fellowship from the Institute of International Education’s Artist Protection Fund (IIE-APF) that led to his becoming an affiliated fellow at the American Academy in Rome. In January 2017, a week before President Donald Trump unveiled his “travel ban” restricting people from mainly Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, Abdelbaki arrived in New York to continue the IIE-APF fellowship, hosted by ArteEast and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.
Since July 2018, Abdelbaki has been a member of the artist-at-risk program at the Westbeth Artists Community, which provides affordable live and workspaces. The program was created by the New York City Safe Residency Program and is led by a coalition of groups supporting freedom of expression.
In an interview with Global Voices in New York, Abdelbaki said that he uses painting, etching, ‎engraving, digital art, installation and video to express what he sees as the “negative effects of racism, religion, and politics that are all striving to divide us and destroy our faith in humanity.”
I had the opportunity to interview Abdelbaki in August 2019. Excerpts from the interview follow:
Omid Memarian: How have years of war in Syria influenced and affected Syrian artists, and you in particular?
Rashwan Abdelbaki: The war has had a negative impact on everyone, especially economically and security-wise, prompting many to leave the country in search of new opportunities. After my graduation from college in Syria, my primary interest was music, exploring the relationship between the musician and the instrument. At the time, my art was filled with music, joy, light, and theater. But in 2011, I started to feel the changes that war brought to my country. On a personal level and as an artist, the war confused a lot of ideas within me, and my vision of things changed. I began to think more about the dangers that threaten our common humanity. My focus shifted to questions regarding the negative effects of racism, religion, and politics that are all striving to divide and destroy our faith in humanity.
Emptiness, 2016 Acrylic On Canvas 120 x 150 cm
“Emptiness”, by Rashwan Abdelbaki. Acrylic On Canvas. 120 x 150 cm. 2016.
OM: What differences do you see in the body of work you created prior to migrating to the U.S. and after you moved here?
RA: Before I came to the U.S., my paintings were focused on human environments and the relationships between different groups of people, sometimes the full body in paintings like Wedding Night and Early Marriage. The first painting I created in New York was Last Supper, First Wall. This painting was in response to Executive Order 13769 [President Trump’s travel ban] that limited my mobility and later became worse by requiring me to either leave or stay. Jesus asked that we all act with and honor humanity. Our response has only been to continue to build walls between us. Then I began to focus more on the face, the open eye, and physical lines that represent our abilities and freedom in paintings like One Line, Crossed Line, and Safety Line. In these works, there is a clear, physical line above the human who looks like he is drowning but still holding on to hope.
OM: In many of your paintings, people have one eye and in general, the face seems disfigured. What do these figures say about your understanding of the human condition and the important issues of our time?
RA: In the portraits, I am speaking to the fear inside us all that keeps us awake, even when we want to close our eyes and sleep in peace. But because of what we are witnessing now—violence, wars, and racism—we need to keep one eye open to know what’s happening around us, to be ready for any shocks or surprises. I put a circle around the open eye in my portraits to draw attention to the eye. These people, like all people, are also prisoners of their own beliefs, so I paint them with striped garments in empty cells. They cannot see beyond the space of their beliefs. This is the current state of our world and humanity today due to religious conflicts, corrupt politicians and their misuse of power, as well as discrimination.
Rashwan Abdelbaki. Title: Women. Acrylic On Canvas. 150 x 150 cm. 2016.
” Women”, by Rashwan Abdelbaki. Acrylic On Canvas. 150 x 150 cm. 2016.
OM: In many of your paintings and sketches, there seems to be a sense of curiosity and searching for the relationship between individuals and their surroundings. The direction of heads and eyes, and interactions with others in Love, as well as Last Supper, First Wall and Number 7 creates an overarching theme embedded beneath your use of vivid colors. What inspired you to create these works? 
RA: It's true, in the very beginning I was trying more to identify the character (one open eye, one eye closed) through physical relationships and empty spaces—to represent a scene, sometime, somewhere. You can see that in Last Supper, First Wall and Number 7, where groups of people are gathering as if on doomsday, enclosed in interior spaces and with transfixed gazes, as if they are staring outwards but at nothing in particular.
But in the painting Love, and the paintings Safety LineWhisper, and Hope, there is something specific: man and woman, in a moment of love, with lines and barriers. They both have just one eye open and the other closed, like all the characters in my paintings, but the special characteristic here is that together they have two open eyes, and the whole scene becomes clearer, like they are protecting one another.
The colors in all these paintings are impressionistic or abstract sometimes, like what's happening around the world. I use them to refer to different political parties or religions, and you can see that in these characters and their stripes. But I also use them to create a vision of hope that I am looking for and want to give to others.
OM: The color palette you use is appealing and inviting, but some of the concepts you deal with are unsettling, like Music on Paper 4 or Emptiness. What was your thought process in creating these situations?
RA: I understand what you mean by “unsettling.” In the prints that come from other concepts than what Emptiness came from, there’s an insistence on reduction of elements, so we are looking at a symbolic representation of the thing rather than the thing itself. Likewise, in these paintings there’s a strong stylization, a canonization of formal elements to essentialist tropes. There are always one or two figures in a room within a garish color palette that appears to suggest confinement and violence. I think I am personally not far from all this. In many cases, I reflect my “unsettled” state from that feeling I had back in the days when I was working on music, to process that unsettled feeling of fear that I’ve had in the last couple years. I want to understand the illusion created by this fear within me, and how to defeat it.
This is My Place. Acrylic On Canvas. 150 x 200 cm. 2016.
“This is My Place”, by Rashwan Abdelbaki.. Acrylic On Canvas. 150 x 200 cm. 2016.
OM: How has living for the past two years in New York changed you as an artist? Are there things that you see differently now regarding art and identity issues as well as geography and politics?
RA: Traveling and living in New York has helped me become acquainted with new civilizations, cultures, languages, music and so on. I was unable to learn about them in my motherland except through the internet or news. Here I learned more about my artistic mission by interacting with people in the U.S. and Europe. When they saw the face with one open eye and one closed eye, it touched them, and from their comments I felt their need for safety, peace, and love.

Written byOmid Memarian

July 4, 2016

The Minute Man, Molestation and The Weapon of Fear

Image result for Christopher Allen Simcox and Donald trump



Commentary on Fear and elections

Sometimes is a good thing to go back to the past. For instance if someone is asking to be hired for law enforcement in a major city or the Federal government this person will be vetted. That means going back to his/her total life history and see if anything bad sticks out that cannot be ethically explained.

On most cases like in current politicians running like Donald Trump for president you don’t have to go back too far to find something either inexplainable or just rotten, like being a sexist, bigot, involved in schemes to cheat the government, a non profit or someone somewhere and things of that sort. Im not going to waste time and space directing anyone to those quotes and misdeeds because you should already know. If you don’t, then you are lacking information to help you in the direction on your vote next november. All you have to do is Google his name to the references I just made and you will spend time researching the man. Actually you only have to go back the last time he had the microphone on his hands on a major speaking engagement and he will either contradict himself or just reinforced what ever ethically or technically (deport millions, etc) wrong he’d said before. By the way in deporting millions, you would need a new law and the law most past constitutional mustard (Supreme Court).  Even if it could be done from two houses of Congress agreeing on a law to then be challenged in the Supreme court, four years could pass easily. Then why does Trump says it? Fear value (the Mexicans are coming and many are here raping and bringing drugs). The building of the wall has a better chance than deporting millions. Yes you can slow the flow because already there are more leaving than coming…..but at what price in money and as a people?

Donald Trump is not the subject today on this posting but another man, particularly one person who have been (a few years back) one of the talking heads reminding the listeners about all the good qualities of being a good christian a good law enforcement guy and someone who fights to keep guns on basically anyone that can afford to buy one. This particular guy was all of those things just as Obama was fighting to get elected President 7 years ago. I see this man and I see Trump the exception is Trump’s got money and always had. This guy Im about to introduce to you got his power by being among politicians with power but always a low level player but with a similar way of talking to Trump.

This man came up with this idea that this country was not secured and that there were rapists, child molesters, drug traffickers and thieves coming in through our border with Mexico( you see what I mean?) He said the problem was an open border and the officers at the border needed help.
 He wanted americans with guns to join a group he’d formed called the Minute-men which represents our fight of independence and it’s fighters which had to be ready to fight in a minute’s notice. He wanted this group to patrol the border with him in horses, trucks or what ever, to stop those dangerous Mexican’s from coming in and molesting our wife’s and children. 

Molesting american’s women and their kids would be as low as this culture will allow. Nothing is worse. Even convicts in jail whenever a rapist but particularly a child molester checks in chances are he will be beaten and many times making him check out to the other world;  Because even cons can’t stand  people that can’t control themselves and commit that crime. I always found that part amazing since rape is now and have always been a major problem in jail with younger guys getting rape by others bigger and more violent that they are. 

The point I am slowly building here is that child molestation is as bad as it gets in this society.  It turns out that the people we trust the most are the ones that commit that deed, sometimes.

 Priests and family members are two in that category according to the figures the most likely to commit that crime.. Also are people that have law and order for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They want purity on others because they can’t have it themselves.  

The person I have been introducing all this time and deserves a long introduction and a long prison sentence as well.
Christopher Allen Simcox. His picture is shown above and may be you remember his face on TV  out in the dessert looking for the network cams to say how much his minute men were protecting the country.

Image result for Christopher Allen Simcox and Donald trump


This is what Slate Posted about him.

The founder of the Minuteman border patrol group was convicted by an Arizona jury on Wednesday June 1, 2016, of molesting a 5-year-old girl and showing her pornography. Christopher Allen Simcox represented himself in the case and is now awaiting sentencing next month. The 55-year-old faces a prison term of 10 to 24 years for each of his two felony molestation convictions. Simcox was acquitted on another, more serious sexual conduct charge with another young girl that would have carried a mandatory life sentence.
“Prosecutors said Simcox preyed on the 5-year-old girl, who was the friend of one of his daughters, during scheduled parental visits with his children. He also showed the victim explicit films, prosecutors said,” according to Reuters. “A former kindergarten teacher from California, Simcox helped start the border watch group to highlight what he said was the government's failure to secure the porous southwest border with Mexico.”

There you are and soon I will be telling you the sentence which should be coming in any day now.
Of course, this is a disgusting coda to the already-depraved saga of the Minutemen, who collapsed in a heap in 2010 after the horrifying 2009 murders of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in their Arizona home by a onetime movement leader named Shawna Forde and her white-supremacist cohort. (Crooks and Liers page)
The reason I am writing about this defunct group is because so many were taken in by it including the media. We have a presidential candidate using the same words and the same bogey man to scare americans into doing their bidding. It’s not hard once you get the fear going. You know we all have difficulty dealing with fear and at the same time make decisions in a methodical smart way. Fear trumps all. 
This weapon is being use by terrorists groups and then you have others using the terrorist to make us do things we ordinarily would not do. This is true and the polls today back me up. Back when Hillary Clinton was running against Obama she was tagged by the media as the irresponsible one, the one that would start a war and send groups where they don’t belong. On Friday Trump was saying how weak she is “She is so weak!” he said. So in one election she is too gun ho and on this one she is being sold as too weak she wont do much about the Terrorists. As I and you most know, wether you like her or not,  she is a lot of things but not having guts is not one of them.
The way you paint fear is by saying the sky is falling, the sky is fallen but you need a rescue but then you give the answer, the solution: Im the only one that can stop it. 
The person that can perform that miracle (which is not a miracle because the sky does fall and neither does the earth) most be asked how they are going to do this and thus the first common sense questions to ask should be the following:
The first question out of four should be how are you going to do  it ? Second have you ever done anything close to it? Do you have the experience?  Finally, Why should we give you the job to do and not others? 
Do you agree? Even if you are just hiring a plumber, What is wrong with asking for those four questions but then find the answers to them on what has been said. That is what people find the hardest but is not really. We have the internet. The only way you can get lost is by going to dark sites that no one knows about. The past history is easy to find and so is what people have said, the problem is people don’t hold people accountable for what they say. Not four years ago but at least since they have been running. There are more questions to ask but those four should be the start.
Another problem is people don’t listen to what they don’t like. How many times was I unfriended when I said something true but appeared negative about sanders? Many!!
Ian’t that silly? Let’s listen to people that speak the truth particularly not those with a dog in the fight. If the sky cannot fall why bother with whomever says that it is? 
If 11 million people cannot be be deported why pay attention to anyone claiming that they will do it? May be we would like the 11 millions deported and that is up to your conscience but it can’t be done why go with the lie and the lier?It won’t end well if we go with the one lying to us about what they are going to do. I don’t even care what they have been if they can do the job I need done.
CommentaryAdam Gonzalez

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