Colour and poetics characterise the abstracted faces and rhythmic linearity of Rebwar Saed’s work. Rebwar was born in 1962 in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, where he is currently the dean of the College of Fine Arts. Before he started painting, he wrote poetry, and painting became a way to translate his verses into images.
The relationship between colour and poetry has been a recurring theme in his work throughout the years. In 1999, he sent 700 of his own A5-size mixed media artworks to poets around the world with the invitation to respond with the verses his images inspired. 350 poems were sent back from all continents and were collected as the project Colour and Word. In the Meet Me Here exhibition he has titled the series of diptychs Diary, and the scenes of his work on wooden slats Colours on Gray Time suggest the varying chapters of an epic myth.
Rebwar’s work on canvas is characterized by a graceful cubism in which curving black lines trace mysterious portraits. The artist is playful when it comes to perspective: his subjects simultaneously gaze into each other’s eyes and look directly at the viewer, evoking a sense of intimacy. In the Diary series, the figures melt into each other in tender embraces, both together and alone in pastel-coloured worlds. Rebwar renders these scenes with acrylic paint on canvas and lets the colours flow so smoothly into each other that it makes one think of the delicate gradients of water colours.
The dynamic language of the artist varies from political to poetic and is expressed on canvas but also in performance art and sculpture. Upon returning from London he began to work with clay as the consummate material symbol of earth, land and the preservation of the past: “the physical substance of the earth in Kurdistan itself as the origin of all creative material.”