Saturday , January 29 2022

How did Abdelkader Al Rayes become one of the most prominent artists in the Arab world?


Arabian business sits with the Emirates artist Abdul Qader Al Raye to talk about his career development from his days in Kuwait to his return to the UAE and his name among artists around the world to hold his first retrospective in Paris.

What does your first retrospective art exhibition mean in Paris?
Every artist has a dream when he reaches Paris. A retrospective idea has been a collection of works since the entrance to the art world. The older works that were exhibited were produced in 1966 and I put them in sixth grade. The exhibition includes 68 paintings, including ten paintings by Skichat, produced in the early seventies, and some produced after I returned to the drawing where I had stopped drawing for 12 years.

How did you start your artistic career and what are your most important orientations in art?
My predestination was that my father died when I was young and my mother had to send me to Kuwait to study at her schools. In fact, 1960 was the golden age of cultural promotion in Kuwait.
In 1974, I created my first personal exhibition in the UAE. The exhibition included my most important works, including Obaid and Muzah and Khaf, as well as a collection of other paintings on our architectural heritage in the UAE.
Visitors to the exhibitions I've noticed note that I have some works related to other things that are not legacy because inheritance is, of course, essential. But I have some paintings about refugees, including two paintings about Beirut in the 1980s.
At that time I didn't know why or why I painted these paintings knowing that I was the only Gulf artists who used refugees. After a long time I discovered that the reason was the personal connection between me and them, where I was an orphan and away from my country.
It has been almost 10 years since I returned to the UAE because of the financial situation and the difficulty of traveling these days.
I started to return to UAE after selling some of Kuwait's paintings, where people agreed to buy their work while I was at school.

How much was the value of your paintings in this period?
I remember that the first painting I sold in my life was valuable to KD 30 (1969), and this painting was also for refugees.
When I set up my first show in Dubai, my work was only 1000 or 2000 dirham (1974). After returning to painting, my paintings were sold in 1987 with about 5,000 dirhams, and one of the paintings that were sold for the next year at 10,000 dirham, the highest price to date.
Then I started to go to the auctions. The first auction took place at the end of 1988 and was in favor of the first Palestinian Intifada, where the painting of the rebellion was prepared and bought for 63 thousand dirhams, and that price was unusual.
I think the owner of the painting will not sell it today, even if the offer is one million dirhams. Some people prefer storing paintings rather than selling them. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to the painting and show it in Paris.

What is the reason for this increase?
There is no doubt that the economic prosperity that was available played an important role in price increases, as well as in the subject of human enlightenment, where there is a greater interest in art and paintings.
I think the painting I offer to three thousand dirhams can now easily be sold for over 300,000 dirhams.
My first entry into foreign companies was Christie's art auction in 2007.
Then things were different and the value of the business increased significantly. Although sometimes price increases are not in the artist's interest.
The reason for this is that those who buy paintings at high prices usually limit their availability to others, such as art lovers, who can't afford to pay a lot of paintings. The artist can benefit from the materialistic aspect, but in the long run I see that modernization after graduation is much better than once. This may not apply to my artistic career, but it is important for the general public.

Who are your most popular customers?
Undoubtedly, most are UAE citizens, as well as Arabs from the Gulf and other Arabs and foreigners. But most of the support is local. Some people also play an important role in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship.

Do you think that in the Arab world, artists are generally appreciated, or does it only concern a few people?
Of course, the assessment is limited, so historically most artists were bad, except for some celebrities.
It is never easy to advertise and sell paintings. First of all you need people to adore your business, this is very important. There is no doubt that the media and publicity play an important role in highlighting some artists, and this happens everywhere, but the work of art is the one who sells himself, the technical and technical level of the painting is the value of art, but the artist's background has no real value.

How does it affect the prices of paintings?
You have to know that there is a mafia in the art world. There are people who raise artists very quickly. For example, I remember that one of the artists had paintings by 2010, almost selling for less than $ 100,000, but today it is worth millions.
What's happening is that someone buys most of the artist's work, for example, $ 60,000, but is just for him to increase the demand for it and suddenly the artist's own paintings up to $ 4 million.

To what extent do these great works of art make you do?
I painted from 1965 to 1969, without selling any painting, knowing that my level in this period was not less than that of art college graduates, some of whom even told the level of teachers in these colleges.
I think the motivation to keep me is the love of art. My interest has always been to become an artist. I remember that the happiest picture I've ever seen in my life was my picture between the paintings published in the Kuwait magazine and the article by the young artist Abdelkader, and maybe this is what prompted me to continue.

What do you want to focus on in your business?
Anyone following my work notes that it coincides with the phenomena observed in the Arab world, both with regard to the use of refugees and Beirut, Palestinians and other events.
In this respect, too, I distinguish myself from other artists in the region, and that the social situation that people have had over the years influenced me and appeared in my work.

How do you describe the competition in this field in the Arab world?
The presence of competitors is usually healthy, especially in terms of creativity. If there is no competition, it can affect the artist's production. Historically, all the great artists we are talking about today were in the same era.
Good friends keep the artist. In our Arab world, the problem is sometimes that the artist does not find competitors.
I also think that Arab art has not happened so far. So far, the Arab region has not experienced art as other countries. I think it's time to invest in business in the Arab world because paintings are still available.

What is your advice to a young artist in the UAE?
I think the modern possibilities were not dreamed in the sixties and seventies, but even in the beginning of 2000. Until 1990 there was only one exhibition, today there are more than 90 different exhibitions.
The artist must continue to learn. This also includes me, if the artist thinks he has arrived, it is the beginning of the end.

What is the most beautiful work I've done?
There are some works that admire for a while and then go to another job, depending on the mood. It is also not good to stay on the same money. But for the most beautiful work I hope God will not appear so far.

For a retrospective in Paris

Recently, from 25 September to 21 October 2018, the first retrospective of the Arabian artist Abdelkader Ala Raye took place in Paris. Dubai Culture and Art Authority (Dubai Culture), an institution of culture, art, heritage and art in the emirate, opened the W Show, organized by the Institute at the Arab World Institute.

Mohammed Al Murrs, Chairman of the Board of Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, was officially opened by the State Minister Zaki Anwar Nusseibeh, Abdul Ghaffar Hussain and Ahmed Bin Issa Al Sarkal to the United Arab Emirates delegation to the French capital Paris. Al Serkal Group Chairman of the Board and HE Ali bin Thalith, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid International Photo Award. The Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development HE Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi also attended the exhibition.
The W Show presented a comprehensive exhibition of over 50 works of art from 1960 to the present, covering various periods of the artist's journey, from the beginning in Kuwait to his current life in Dubai. Abdul Qader Al Rayes, one of the pioneers of contemporary art in the Arabian Gulf region, has played a crucial role in enriching the UAE's artistic landscape. The artist has created a special exhibition for this exhibition "Source of Love", marking the "2018 Year" initiative.

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