" THE KUWAITI ARTIST SAMI MOHAMMED "
" In Local and Arab Newspapers "
Sami Mohammed…. the holism and all-encompassing tragedy of humanity and its violent depths…. The revolt of pride and the pride of rejection…. These and other meaning and pictures are expressed and presented by the works of this true artist.
Sami Mohammed has at an early age, realized the nature of art and it’s interacting relationships, he chose to treat sincerely his subject through a steady development and improvement of his style in order to reach the highest levels of professionalism, without falling into the trap of exhausting his models or self-repetition. He honestly believed that the phase is pregnant with further things to come. In his rich experience he belongs to the school of the of the “part “only to benefit from the result of the “all “and reverts to the
“Detail “only to achieve the “whole “.
He has one predominant title…… man and his all encompassing tragedy. His technique benefits from all things possible in order to charge views and the perspective by evoking the appropriate reaction.
This in short is the art of Sami Mohammed who, most formative critics believe, represents a major milestone in Kuwaiti formative art movement.
“Sawt Al-Shaab Newspaper”
One of the most important elements that gave the formative works of Sami Mohammed a considerable degree of steadiness and strength is his full commitment to the creation of visual and intellectual connection between one artistic step and other. This has given his works a common framework, although the methods of formation and performance have been different, depending on the requirements of each individual idea.
Sami is most characterized of knowing his thinking and formative capabilities. He accurately calculates these capabilities and knows when to begin and when to stop.
" Hamid Khazal "
" AL-ARABI MAGAZINE ,Issue No.346 – September 1987 "
“ The physical law says that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It seems that most innovative artists tend to absorb the action and build up their own reaction by using their own special tools of expression. However other artists give up the struggle and accept the prevailing reality.
The later type of artists does not add anything to the result of genuine creativeness in the field of creative arts. They may achieve a certain measure of success ,but that is only temporary and ,more often short-lived.
The Kuwaiti artist Sami Mohammed belongs to the first type of artist the innovative and creative artist who strives steady to add something new to the existing repertoire of formative art.
A mere quick look at the works of Sami Mohammed will provide only a vague, foggy idea about the thinking of this artist and his intellectual and aesthetic vision. He is different from other gulf artists in that he has had a long history of hard experimentation and laborious study.”
" ARAB ARTS MAGAZINE "
" Issue No.203 – 5 December 1982 "
“ the artist Sami Mohammed has had a marked influence on sculpture in the Arab world. Many young sculptors owe a lot to Sami’s chisel and style. He has by now gone beyond his local field and his works have become a favored matter of discussion among critic artists.”
" Adnan Farazat "
“ It is not an exaggeration to consider the formative artist Sami Mohammed the most prominent aspect in formative art in Kuwait and the Arab world. He always gives a different work of a different taste to simulate your human illusion. His works are full of pain, meanwhile friendly and loving the human being. His works constitute a cry in the face of oppression for the freedom of man.
" AL KUDS AL ARABI MAGAZINE "
" Issue No.147 – 13.10.1989 "
“Sami Mohammed the sculptor of the miserable Arab Generation”
The work of Sami Mohammed will indeed be a landmark in the history of sculptor in Kuwait and Arabian Gulf. His works are indeed the first “sculpting events” that many be described as being “mature” in the history f the Arabian Peninsula. It may be natural for great talents to appear in Rome, Cairo or Baghdad, or Peking, Bombay, Paris, or Tokyo, but it is quite an event to see such great talent exist in Kuwait.
The works of Sami Mohammed in the field of sculpture in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf are as much a milestone as Mahmoud Mukhtar in Egypt, Jawad salim in Iraq, Henry Moore in London, Rodin in Paris, Michelangelo in Rome. These great men made great achievements not only for themselves, but for the entire formative culture and for the art of sculpture worldwide. Sami Mohammed, wherever he stands among these great men, is indeed one of them.
Perhaps one of the important human aspects expressed in his “boxes” is the state of being surrounded by danger and the revolutionary tension that is a permanent source of tension against his inner being. What is surprising is that the son of the open desert and wild fields of sand and trees does not express feeling and ideas that reflect this “openness”, but rather focuses on his “boxes” or rather “boxed humanity”. Although he is product of the oil boom, we find that his works reflect a totally different state of mind. Furthermore, one cannot fail to wonder how such an artist flourished in a strictly Islamic society, which regards painting and sculpting as the creation of idols.
Sami Mohammed has been endowed with love of sculpture and with a deep feeling toward the Arab Revolution. The strict social traditions did not prevent Sami from pursuing his talent. He used to insist on sculpting, as young boy, although his mother would always tell him that he was creating idols and that his punishment would be in hell fire. He now remembers how he would bring his “idols” home with him.
Sami has always been faithful to the subjects of his sculpting: humanity and the Arab revolutionary. In this, he is considered a follower of Iraqi school of art sculpture. However, in his style, he belongs to the gulf school. Nevertheless, he has maintained his own steady and prevailing style. You cannot fail to feel the “presence” of life in his sculptures. A single statue is stronger than thousands of articles, speeches and opening and closing communiqués. His style is revolutionary and instigating, and his works of arts maybe described as being both extrovert and introvert simultaneously. They contain both of a frown and a voice that fails to come out. When you look at one of his work you feel that you hear the noise of action and the voice that struggling to come out and be heard.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing in the work of Sami Mohammed is that it stands as testimony to the common Arab fate and the common “crisis”. In his work and in his feeling, there is no difference between Cairo and Baghdad or between Casablanca and Kuwait, for sadness and dissatisfaction are common. The sorrows of Cairo in the 1970s are reflected in Sami’s works during that period.
His work do not merely touch the deep chord that shook our “Arab pride” after the second world war and in the shadow of the cold and hot entente, but also our deepest chords that evoke the pain and suffering of the human being today. This is expressed in the stone cities (his cubes), and the crisis of man in his voyage towards the civilization of today, which is contrary to nature and freedom. His works tell us that we are all the son of same prison cell, that we are prisoners of the same “box”.
The foremost Arab writer, critic and translator, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, has said: “His works are worthy of being displayed in the lobbies and corridors of the United Nations Building in New York and of the UNESCO in Paris.”
I wonder, is not such a talent worthy of the pride of the country and nation of this artist? The “box” works of Sami Mohammed touch the innermost parts of the soul Arab individual. Why don’t these works adorn the lobbies of our ministries? Why don’t we see them in the halls of Arab universities and cultural institutions? Why we don’t have a comprehensive exhibition of these works, that is distributed all round the world?
When you view the works of Sami Mohammed, you cannot help feeling respect for the genuine pictures they convey and their effective credibility. His sculptures are genuine and sincere movements that recall the sad moments in our time: the tragedy of Sabra and Chatila, political oppression, economic difficulties and human aggressiveness whether apparent or latent. The works are a cry not very unlike the cry of King Lear in “The Tempest”. They wake up the lazy conscience and the drugged mind. They call us in a symbolic language to support the suffering of the human being in every place and at every time.
These works expose the ugliness of oppression, and urge us to look for this oppression in the depths of our souls in order to cleanse ourselves.
Finally, this is not a critical article, but a call to every one to care for the true and genuine art, for art is the safety valve for our souls. Real Talent should be encouraged and supported.
" Ahmed Ghanim "
" Al-Watan Newspaper-29.8.1985 "
Sami Mohammed has produced more work than any other artist and has been the most controversial.
He is most creative in tow branches of formative arts: portraying and sculpting. His ingenuity consistently raises many intellectual and philosophical issues through his treatments of certain human subjects and values that go beyond the boundaries of the community within which he lives.
" AL-WATAN NEWSPAPER-5.7.1989 "
Sami mohammed is a Kuwaiti artist whose works are so “ noisily eloquent “ that they evoke in the viewer a feeling of pleasure mixed with terror. This is because the wound from which Sami is suffering is also the wound of the viewer. His sculptures are the result of a deep understanding of the feeling and suffering of the viewer.
" KULL AL-ARAB MAGAZINE "
" Issue No.259-13.8.1987 "
Sami Mohammed is one of the main pillars in the field of formative art in Kuwait. In the area of sculpture, his works reflect a deep human intellect and high artistic taste as well as a meticulous craftsmanship through which he reaches to the farthest depths of the human soul in order to reveal it’s suffering and reflect it in the form of a painting or statue.
" AL-MUJALIS MAGAZINE "
" Issue No.969 "
Sami Mohammed has been expressing social and human life in general terms, sharing the feeling of others to varying degrees. However, his conscience did not rest at that point of general expression. Instead, we find him break the bounds of his soul and seek to express himself more eloquently and specifically in his endeavor to destroy all bounds.
" Supplement to "
" AL-WATAN NEWSPAPER – 8.9.1981"
The artist Sami Mohammed has managed to become an outstanding sculptor, and is now generally regarded as one of the pioneers of contemporary Kuwaiti art. We may even add that he is one of the leading figures in the field of formative art in the entire Arab world.
Sami is a true artist who has mastered the techniques of his art, and is able to present a work of art that is technically so beautiful as to be loved by all those who see it. His work highlights his humanistic tendencies and expresses man’s sufferings. The human being has always been the most important subject in all the works of this artist who has succeeded in expressing the strength and vitality of his subject.
" BUSHIHRI ARTS GALLERY "
Sami Mohammed’s sculptures are a commentary on evil. Blindfolding is the evil act of curbing the gifts of speculation, imagination and insight, gifts that are the direct fruit of the sense of sight. Tying hands and bodies is the evil act of denying all endeavours towards transformative action. Anchoring the human subject to punitory pillars is the evil act of subverting by anti-culture the aspiration to create culture, symbolized by bondage to dead alien matter from which pillars are made. Yet the most appalling of all evil acts is the elimination of the three most civic of all gifts: a political conscience which guides social praxis, historical memory of a better communal past, and the agency of hope. Since these gifts gave, and still give, human existence form and continuity, and since they constitute the foundation of civil/civic life, the sculptures project evil as a primordial force, and Mohammed’s dramatization of its grotesqueness is performed on a universal scale that transcends particular places and periods.
Yet despite the cruel lucidity of the sculptures, and despite Mohammed’s acrimonious critique of the post-colonial condition, his vision is not marred by either cynicism or nihilism.
In Sami Mohammad’s sculptures the conceptual humanistic image of man’s relationship with himself has not degenerated. Like Prometheus who refused to surrender all power to Zeus, the human subject continues to appropriate his desire for free speech, and he still reserves the power of self-esteem, which enables him to preserve the integrity of his former, pre-bondage self.
From a study to be published. Author: Dr. Zahra A. Hussein Ali
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