Open Versus Closed

November 05, 2013 4:52 PM

Born in Saudi Arabia, educated in the United Kingdom, and now residing and working in New York City, 25 year old artist Abdullah Qandeel has burst onto the Manhattan art scene with his latest exhibition “Open Versus Closed”. The body of work is comprised of intensely expressive, and message-laden pieces, and available for viewing through November 12th at the Trump Soho Hotel.

True to the history of the Arab region, the pieces possess a story, and weave together a tapestry of themes ranging from youth, love, beauty, religion, Arab culture and ideals, and even references to New York’s Freedom Tower.

This is a representation of Arab society today. We are fighting to be recognized as individuals that have creativity, that have drive, and that have the finances to achieve the greatest things. I am 25 years old, and this is our time. We are not going to make any more stupid acquisitions, or to make any more wasteful investments. This particular generation sees people that want to prove how efficient they can be, and how expressive they can be. Art is expression, and the ability to express using different mediums and different forms. When you master something, then you can express yourself using that form, and people respect you for that form, that is what I do, I am expressing myself. I talk about love, I talk about Saudi-ism, I talk about the Freedom Tower, I talk about women in blue, I talk about love with a Jewish woman, I talk about love between an Arab man and a Jewish man, and I talk about true, true desire of support. It is what everybody wants.

Representing a broad evolution and depth as an artist, the collection of pieces possess a striking and clear vision, and in doing so, seem to translate a message devoid of words or religion, which speaks to the heart and mitigates cultural boundaries.

It is so simple that you can draw a shape, and you can say “That stands for that,” and you can use that to break down barriers. One of the biggest problems that we have as a people in the Middle East is that we have lack of empathy, we are not empathetic. We think that we are our own and that is it and that we are not to open up our barriers, not to change our expectations, not to change the way we think. With art, you force people to open up their brains.

When asked what Qandeel would like the viewer to take away from his work, the response is as direct, emotional, and honest as the pieces themselves.

I want them to see what is the possibility, and what an Arab can do. What do I want from the inside? I want to be so fucking famous that I want the younger generations coming up to look at me and say, “I want to be as free as that guy.” 

Open Versus Closed by Abdullah Qandeel is available for viewing through November 12th at The Trump Soho Hotel

Curated and presented by Amanda Brown of Amanda Brown Artist Management

 -Stephen Fisher

 

 

 

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