Blending the east and the west: emerging artists make a statement
Adnan Samman’s work involves beautiful contrasts, between the old and the new, contemporary and the classical, the east and the west. Born in Syria and having resided in Saudi and Jordan for a large portion of his life, Adnan’s Middle Eastern heritage has a powerful impact on his work. Adnan says: “There's so much contrast in this part of the world and that's where I tend to search for beauty. Contrasts in political and social behaviours inspire me.”
Through Adnan’s artistic eye we can gain a clear view of how he sees his heritage and his cultural experiences. From a mosaic society, he is able to look at the world collectively and this is the approach he has taken to his artistic practice. With this, Adnan’s work resonates nostalgia. In his work, titled the same, Nostalgia, Adnan celebrates the fact that despite the seven-year long war Syria has undergone, Syrians remember how their country was before the devastation of conflict. The penetrated holes in the work give the viewer a peak into the landscape of the early noughties, representing both the nostalgia and strength of the region.
His contemporary photography layered with digital mixed media, of iconic classical figures from renaissance art, makes for an interesting combination that has attracted a lot of interest from art enthusiasts. Adnan wants viewers to have an honest view of the relationships between people and place, and the contrasts of people fitting in to different environments and vice versa.
While his art has attracted attention from across the globe, when asked for patterns in those who follow him, Adnan says he's noticed that his viewers who connect most strongly with his artistic expression are those are living in countries outside of where they were born.
“I have a lot of Arab fans living in Europe, many Iranians living in the United States and all sorts of nationalities living in the Gulf region. I guess it could be that they relate to me (being a migrant myself) or they find something familiar in my work. I could think of a million reasons why this group of people, in particular, can resonate with my work, and I find it the most humbling and rewarding to know this.”
“My art is best experienced free of expectations. You can take any message you want out of what you see, or you can just enjoy the colours. I love that one piece could mean different things to different people.” Adnan has been a part of exhibitions at Central Saint Martins and the Barbican Centre in London and was most recently exhibited in The Villa Vigoni, Italy. Villa Vigoni is a renaissance house that's considered a main cultural hub in Europe where officials meet and discuss culturerelated topics. The exhibition, titled Homes, was part of a conference regarding art, culture and immigration, curated by Agnese Gallo and Silvia Amoruso.
Oppositepage: Monster Thispageclockwise:The Ladder;Nostalgia; OnEarthAsItIsInHeaven