December 14th, 2021

ABDULJALIL AL SHAREEFI

Nostalgia

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Abduljalil Al Sharifi uses the Iraqi traditional style as a tool to reconnect, often as an act of remembering, through his individually expressive and nuanced symbolic language, bright colors, and subject matter. In his paintings of different kinds of people and settings, he evokes a feeling of nostalgia for lost time through which a glimpse of fond memory emerges.

The paintings are part of Sharifi’s grieving process for a time and place that no longer exists, except within his memory. Recalling memories and meanings from the past in a way that might be painful, Abduljalil states that he “likes to add color to his works to give some kind of joy to the themes that are drawn from grief.”

Viewers often find birds, fruits, and blurred faces; all in which encompass important symbolic and personal relevance. Remembering his childhood, Sharifi states, “We grew up poor and our means of travel was through boats. Traveling to Iraq from Kuwait, I remember the fear of the unruly ocean and waves breaking against the boat. To sooth myself, I did the only thing I could; close my eyes and sleep in hopes of allowing time to pass quickly. When I woke up, the sea was calm, and the sounds of birds were singing all around. And in that moment, I knew I was safe. Ever since, the birds I paint, represent safety, security, and calm.”

By tapping into people's desire to feel a sense of belonging, meaning, and security, Sharifi endows his artworks with emotion and sentimentality that connects with his audience and elicits a bitter-sweet feeling. In this way, Sharifi’s use of nostalgia appeals to the viewer on a feel-good level.