I’m currently working on the third book of the Iraqi Americans book series, which will be about the lives of artists. This project has been a luxury since it has introduced me to breathtaking artwork and inspiring artists, one of who is renowned Iraqi American artist Qais Al-Sindy.
I spent this morning enwrapped in Qais’ exquisite art and meaningful literature. Qais lives in San Diego, and shortly after I started this project, nearly every artist I talked to mentioned Qais’ accomplishments. They said I had to meet this artist, and last month, I had the pleasure of interviewing him over the phone. Then I received six of his books in the mail.
This morning, flipping through the pages of his books as I drank my coffee and listened to Zen music, I felt lifted in spirit by the imaginative, rhythmic, and emotional canvases that display much more than the appearance of the subject. They convey the subject’s inner mysticism. Through these paintings, one enters the dream of a “Return to the Garden of Eden” – the title of one of Qais’ books.
In the last page, he quotes the Epic of Gilgamesh, as translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs:
“Gilgamesh goes off in search of the answer of everlasting life. When he arrives on the other side of the long darkness, he encounters “the Garden of the Gods.” But the description then turns to the precious metals and stones. “And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx are there… There was a Garden of the Gods: all round him stood bushes bearing gems… fruit of hung thick with fruit, sweet to see… rare stones, agate, and pearls from the sea.”
In another book,The Struggles for Survival, Al-Sindy writes this passage called “Foothold.”
Soon after birth your search begins for a foothold on this globe. You search for your being, for a piece of land to secure your feet in. You search for a place upon which to stand on and declare “Here I am.”
The world has become overcrowded with its human inhabitants. There is traffic wherever you go. Everyone is competing for a chair to sit on. An unstoppable race to win the first positions, rather to win any position. When you don’t find that space, you hover above awaiting someone to be removed, or rather you remove somebody.
Who doesn’t want to say, “I am here!?” Who isn’t tempted by that moment of existence? Who doesn’t wish to announce his existence or prove that he exists?
In this conceptual work I invite the viewer to find his own foothold… despite the footprints overcrowding the space, the excitement of the search is not void of passion and adventure, even if that adventure is found in daydreaming to achieve harmony with the reality.
To learn more about Qais Al-Sindy, visit his website: http://qaissindy.com/