It is difficult to reconcile the lively, popping colors and energetic paint treatment of Lukman Ahmad’s acrylic and watercolor paintings with his personal history: The Kurdish artist began his painting career in Syria in 1986 and was eventually granted political asylum in the US in 2010. Ahmad is no stranger to repression, having been interrogated for his beliefs. Yet he is able to infuse “the Kurdish spirit of hope” in his current show Hope and Freedom at the Crossroads Gallery.
The paintings exude optimism and rich cultural references – noble horses, golden sunflowers, native costumes, twirling dances, doves, and the coming of spring evident in the yellow, white and red colors of the Kurdish flag.
There were a few pieces that the artist identified as his ‘Syrian works’ (see image below), and here we can see darker sentiments that correlate more closely to the ongoing conflict in Syria that has spawned a humanitarian and geopolitical crisis in the region.
Judging by the large number of sold stickers on his paintings, I was not the only one to find an immediate connection to the exuberance and spontaneity of Ahmad’s work.
Lukman Ahmad’s paintings address a tier of art buyer that appreciates the transparency and immediacy of work that is readily understood on a universal, visceral level.
Through March 23rd, 2014 at Crossroads Gallery, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossing, Falls Church VA. More of the artist’s work at http://www.lukmanahmad.net.