05 May- 19 June 2021
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art
11 Church Street
London NW8 8EE, UK
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Iraqi artist Mohammed Sami. Entitled ‘Apocrypha’ the exhibition brings together recent paintings by the acclaimed Goldsmiths graduate.
Mohammed Sami’s paintings explore the stratifications of memory and trauma triggered by common everyday objects and environments. He employs diffused and layered messages that can be read in multiple ways to grasp our imagination.
The narrative in Sami’s works, while still expressing a lingering subversive tension, has moderated since its more expressive beginnings. The once almost violent subject matters have given way to more domestic and intimate settings, the overall approach has become rather reflective.
Rather than directly relating to the Iraq conflict, which he witnessed first-hand, Sami’s paintings articulate its recollection remotely and obliquely – usually through traditional painting subjects such as still-life, interiors and landscapes, pervaded by a sense of unease, absence and metaphorical allusion.
“Painting is the means by which I engage the traces of personal memory” Sami explains. “Memories are curious things, sometimes they masquerade as shadows, objects, smell or even something banal, without revealing themselves as memories…”
23 Years of Night shows a boarded-up interior, mirrored and fragmented. The impossibility to enter or to look in from the outside alludes to a safe domestic space while a war or other danger rages beyond its limits. A place of inner warmth amongst external turmoil. In Family Affair, a painting devoid of people, like all his recent works, the strain of human tragedy is almost palpable. In Skin the carpets, symbols of oriental culture and history, are beautifully rendered yet claustrophobically placed. On a closer glance it is hard not to think of wounded flesh. Sami accomplishes to pair loneliness with beauty. Violent tension with tranquillity. A post-apocalyptic aura that bears the seed of renewal, a healing scar, the silence after a fight.
Mohammed Sami’s works are part of the Government Art Collection and the York Museum Trust.
A catalogue with an essay by Paul Carey-Kent will be published in May 2021.
The exhibition supported by the Art Council England and The Swedish Arts Grants Committee