Artist: Ihab Ali
Media: Dry wall, car, burlap blake sheeting, paint, lights
Gallery: CSULB School of Art Marilyn Werby Gallery
This week I had the pleasure of meeting Ihab Ali who is a very talented artist in the Undergraduate Program of BFA Ceramics at Long Beach State. He was born and raised in Syria for the first 14 years of his life and grew up in a very political home. When I asked him about his hobbies and interests, he said he is interested in making stuff and constantly being in the studio. I did learn his favorite food is pizza with pineapple, mushrooms and olives. He is Arab American as his father is from Iraq and his mom is from Syria and he lived a major part of his life in America. Many aspects of life and personal experiences inspire his work. He went to a Politically charged show in Italy titled “All the Worlds Future” and found an immense amount of inspiration in the show. He believes we are bound in our own culture and that also inspires him. He has lived in California for years and believes the state is an isolated place. His beliefs are due to the fact we receive everything through a camera. Ihab seemed so passionate about his work and his hard work and endless time put into this exhibit was noticeable.
His exhibit was different then any exhibit I have viewed previously. Ihab created an Installation Theatrical piece of reality. His exhibit displayed pure chaos. His exhibit presented poverty and abandonment. When walking through the exhibit, he hoped the viewer would have thought provoking questions such as “Where is the media?” “Where is everyone?” and “Who will clean up the mess?”. When talking about the formal qualities of his work, Ihab explained how his advisors called his work “manipulative”. He manipulates his exhibit so when someone walked through they would experience the scene as an eyewitness. In all of his work he believes in tight lines rather than straight lines. Furthermore, Ihab is intimidated by color because he has trouble with how other people make opinion of his color choices. He loves to play with black and white and throws glass in his work because it is lose and abstract. He had to use a plethora of materials for his Exhibit. To be very specific he used 35 sheets of dry wall, an old car, 110 square feet of burlap and other small items like a camera, television, red paint resembling blood and a cup from Syria. I believe all of his materials impacted his exhibit for the better.
His exhibit is truly about displaying a bombed area and to present a politically charged world, most Americans know very little about. Most things Americans know about the world are just through the news or pictures. He knows that the world can be a political asylum with no embassy or protection and wants to help show the truth and become a Political activist Artist. Through his exhibit he was able to tap into memories and have honest conversations with his parents. His parents even got the opportunity to view the exhibit and said “Where is your art?”. Although, the whole exhibit was a creation of art, they didn’t view it that way because the bomb scene seemed natural to them. Although I found that very sad, it also showed what an incredible job Ihab did at making his exhibit extremely accurate.
Ihab stated at one point in our conversation that “The way I think is based off of the way I was cultivated” He is pretty much sating we can’t get out of our culture and our past will always influence our future which I genuinely believe to be 100% true. Ihab was such an awesome artist to talk to. He was so down to earth and had such a friendly personality. Even after class ended we continued to chat and I could tell he is such a well rounded intelligent guy. He is truly passionate about his work and I believe he will only achieve greatness in the future. I look forward to seeing his future work and very glad I got to meet him.