Artist: Ihab Ali
Media: dry wall, car, black sheeting
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Werby Gallery
About the Artist:
Ihab came from Damascus, where he originally lived for 14 years before coming to America. For the artwork we saw this week, it was his senior show. Surprisingly, Ihab is a ceramic artist with a BFA in ceramics, but his senior show had no ceramics in it at all. In his free time, Ihab doesn’t really do anything else but art. He said that in whatever spare time he has, he goes to the studio to work on his art. The most prominent idea that his work explores is memories back from Syria, and trying to demonstrate to Western Culture what it’s like.
For this show, a lot of different pieces went into it. To list a few, there was dry wall, burlap, black sheeting, and even a real car. When entering the show, it was pretty scary feeling, dark and mysterious even. Ihab tried to portray memories and flashbacks he had back from his homeland. The artwork was very striking and caught your attention right from the beginning.
Before I spoke to Ihab, I first walked through the exhibit and was kind of lost as to what it meant as a whole. However, after speaking to him, I walked back through the exhibit and understood it 100 times better! Ihab really wanted to portray what it was like back in his homeland and to bring it to Western Culture. When asking him to describe his exhibit to us, he called it a “theatrical piece of reality that portrays poverty, destruction, and abandonment.”
For myself, I really enjoyed Ihab’s show because I don’t meet too many middle eastern people here at Long Beach. I’m 25% Iranian so I was really interested in what Ihab had to say about his time back in his homeland. Although I have never actually been to the middle east, my dad and grandpa have told me stories about what it’s like there and some of what Ihab said resonated with me. I really connected with him when he said that people are quick to judge middle eastern people in America and how they automatically attach stereotypes to us. I can relate to this not only in the way that I’m middle eastern but I’m also on the cheer team, so many people assume that I’m dumb or not athletic at all, when that obviously isn’t the case. Overall, Ihab’s exhibit has been my favorite up to this date.