Wk. 13 Artist Conversation. Ihab Ali

Artist: Ihab Ali

Exhibition: Eye Witness

Media:Property Lights, burlap, dry wall, 2 by 4s.

Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery

Instagram: @ihabali

Ihab is an undergraduate student here at CSULB. He is currently working toward a BFA in Cerramics. He’s on his third year here, and says he really likes it thus far. Ihab became interested in art at the University of Georgia. He said a fascination with contemporary art is what drove him to start creating his own. As a whole his main objective is to deliver a theme to an audience with the entirety of his attraction. He said that he considers his own work to be folk. On another note, his goal is to be an activist as well. He feels that art is a way to express the ideas of activism as well as aesthetics.

In its entirety, this exhibit was really quite a sight. It used very dim lighting, as well as drywall, bullet holes, fake blood, and old tv’s with static on the screen to exemplify a post terror stricken middle eastern building. It almost felt like a maze in which people were going to jump out from behind barriers and scare you. Mostly everything in there had a very dark feel to it. The lighting was almost a brownish yellow which gave the few well lit parts of it a unsettling vibe, as well as a completely dark room illuminated by only a TV’s static. The line texture was relatively straight for the most part, and everything in there seemed quite symmetrical. The only things that didn’t seem clean cut were the bullet holes, as well as the bloodstains.

When speaking with Ihab, it was clear to see that the reason for creating this exhibit was that he wanted to prove a point. Growing up in Syria must have exposed him to some quite frighting things, and in result caused him to create an exhibit such as this. He did say that his goal was to be an activist with his art, and I believe he really hit the nail on the head with this one. Ihab really wanted to explore how terrible the atrocities of terrorism are, and believed it would be a good thing to place those who viewed his work directly in the middle of it.

In its entirety, I thought Ihab’s Eye Witness exhibit was quite eye opening. It really forced people to take a deeper look as to what it would be like to live in a war torn city such as Baghdad. Ihab’s ideas as well as my own were quite alike. Though he wanted to be an activist with his art, I feel as if I am somewhat of an activist through the way that i interact with others. So essentially, much of what he said went along with my own ideas. It was fascinating since the way in which he forced viewers to be a part of his exhibit is kind of a why in which I find myself associating with other people. I have this tendency to expose others to problems they have without telling them directly. The goal is to take an action that will not make them seem uneasy, but make them think. All in all, I thought Ihab’s exhibit was quite enthralling. I can see how many would be left feeling uneasy about it, but i feel as if it is a good kind of uneasy. Pertaining to that, it is the type that opens the eyes of others about what is happening places other than here. In terms of resonance, it really stuck with me. I had never been in an art exhibit such as this. It was quite heavy, and really made me feel like I was in the middle of the action.

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