A lot of the landmarks of my experience lie amidst “complete solitude” as well as “the course of the invisible in painting.” Indiscernible to the eye, this space contains my innermost thoughts, my painting techniques and all that I want to achieve through and by painting. Briefly, I can say that what provokes my visual sensitivity is that which gives the sky its meaning; the distance where creatures exist and whatever may explain the concept of hovering, exaltation and rapprochement, along with the lightness of being which is a feature of unseen entities.
There is a dual pledge within my art. I promise my paintings will have something resembling me, and I too will resemble something within my paintings. We are two entities existing in a moment of engagement that has no direct meaning, and has no benefit except for being part of the act of creation.
In the flower, I have found my little fairies. They do not utter a sound, yet, they speak all the possible languages. What I dreamt of was not to be a linguistic creature, and that was what I have gained from painting. At one point, I felt more Japanese than Kurdish, for art can move the spirit to a deeper level of identification. My painting techniques do not merely resemble me, rather they are who I am entirely. Nothing comes from without; everything springs from within. The surface is not a cover, it is a secret garden to which I extend my arm and clear the fog for the truth to come into sight. When I paint, I follow my dreams through my brushstrokes. As I paint, my hand also dreams as I do, it does so nervously and as it moves my dreams are cleared and refined. Painting does not dwell in my mind alone, painting is the act of my body. The imagination of that body creates a special distance, which I have identified as the space that leads up to the sky.
Land & Human was the title of the first exhibition I held in Baghdad in 1982. Since then, I have been searching in painting, through painting and with painting, for the meaning of “homeland,” the place where roots develop and a feeling of belonging is created. Sometimes I even wonder whether I even exist in reality or in the painting alone. How can I be partial to what I am not certain about? My land and my being are in a different place. Like the spot of light to which my paintings reach, I am emitted from my work and come to exist as I realize this renouncement of my land. Painting is not a mask; it is the truth, and I have been exposed to its magical effects.
Himat M. Ali