Dream, for what is more beautiful than dreaming? And who doesn’t want to dream?
The history of dreams is as long as human life itself. We realize that we can dream before learning how to live. We all live two lives, one located in reality and the other, liberated of time and space, in dreams. Some dreams come true and others remain dreams because of some “jet lag” that stands between us and those dreams. There are dreams that we consciously create in order to cope with a stressful reality and there are other dreams that we shape with all our senses. so they become colored dreams.
The dream is the mailman coming from the subconscious, the magical gate to our feelings, and the place from where memories emerge one after the other. Dreams and all the images, characters, and events they contain land on the surface of paintings where they are artistically embodied
This is how fine artist Shabaan ElHussieny presents the paintings in his latest exhibition "Dream." Hussieny creates of his dreams a fertile soil for artistic and philosophical debate. He did not, in fact, control his artistic production, but rather let the dream lead his ideas and imagination. His paintings address the most modest of dreams, that which revolves around the eternal hope of preserving our innocence and protecting childhood. Despite how joyful the paintings are, they reflect fears of stripping childhood of its basic right-freedom. He used dreams as expressions of wisdom gained throughout the past, extending to the presented, and passed on in the future and bestowed on those dreams a noble aura that our conscious thoughts and deeds might at times lack.
While dreams occupy a virtual space in the mind, Husseini summons his dreams to reality. His studio is full of dreams that he decided to document and protect from the contamination that characterizes real life. This is particularly demonstrated in childhood toys, dolls made of different fabrics, hanging on the walls and facing him. They seem to have been playing with him, singing to him, and creating an overwhelming presence for themselves that made them an essential component of his artwork. With prior preparation, Hussieny paints on the canvas and watches his dreams gradually turning into an artistic formation and a story. He surrounds the components of his paintings with symbols and texts that he carved through scratching and that are pretty similar to the scribbles children make on walls.
In Hussieny's dreams, we see a girl with wings hovering over houses on a white house to represent the dream of flying, a timeless dream and one of the first that we experience throughout our lives. There are also children playing traditional games such as rope skipping and with traditional toys such as the wooden cow as well as children gathering happily.
There are some controversial cases in this collection. In one of the paintings, Husseini draws a girl, but does not color her. The girl is shaped by the cheerfulness of the color red, yet it is a pale, blurred red. The girl stands in front of a chair and looks at the dolls hanging on its back. She cannot touch the dolls as if something is stopping her and looks at them in a confused and ambiguous manner while other children appearing behind her are free. The painting makes viewers wonder what is stopping this girl from reaching her toys. In another painting, a lonely girl, whose facial expressions arouse viewers’ sympathy, sitting on a chair in front of a table on which Lego blocks are placed. A doll hangs from a wall on which the alphabet is written and looks at the girl. This girl, too, is unable to reach her toys and looks afraid.
In "Dream," Hussieny offers an artistic and philosophical state that represents a form of conscious dreaming, which the artist acquired through meditating and giving his subconscious access to all the objects surrounding him in his studio. The resulting ideas are then allowed to flow spontaneously and freely on the surface of his paintings that end up combining the conscious with the subconscious.
Suzy ShoukriFine artist and critic