Amman - It feels like a million degrees in dusty Amman at the moment as the country goes through one of its most ferocious heat waves in years. Sticking to the comfort of my mum's air-conditioned home, I find, ensconced comfortably amongst the family's favourite books, this beautiful, mesmerising gem by Iraqi-British artist Firyal Al-Adhamy (فريال الأعظمي) who I soon find out was inspired by Syrian poet Loay Taha to write her book.
The publication, 'Do No Unveil My Colors, A Homeland Sleeps There' (2014) demonstrates the splendour, yearning, complexity and passion for the 'homeland' by mixing prose, verse and visual artworks centred around Arabic calligraphy. The pages of the book are laid out such that one side carries the artwork while the page opposite contains the prose or verse written in both the English and Arabic language. A section of the book, written by Iraqi artist and Visual Art Critic, Muhsin Aldahabi offers an in-depth critic of Firyal Al-Adhami's art which also follows the two column layout appearing in English and Arabic.
Firyal Al Adhamy is an Iraqi-British artist who has contributed to noteworthy group exhibitions at local and international levels. Her artwork is in private collections worldwide as well as in important public collections in the British Museum, Arab British Chamber of Commerce, National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman Jordan, and Bait Al-Quran in the Kingdom of Bahrain among many others.
This publication marks the convening of her most recent exhibitions in Bahrain: 'When the Word Turns Into A Fragrant Ray of Light' (2009) and 'Darwish, An Alter of Poetry' ( 2013). "The book", Firyal says, "contains poems that celebrate the homeland by the Syrian poet Loay Taha, who, like me, is destined to live far from the country of his birth. We are bound by a common longing for this homeland. He was the genuine catalyst for this book who suggested we conjoin the words and the paintings in prose or poetry'.
In the words of Muhsin Aldahabi, Iraqi Artist & Visual Art Critic, who writes in the book that this publication "thus embodies poetry and visual art at the same time, and suggests a symphony that fills the space with the harmony of its rhythms. Colour embraces letter in a rhythmical structure which resembles an architectural design of interpolated layers in a musical note."
Describing Firyal's art, Baria Alamuddin, Journalist/ Writer/ Commentator, comments: "The first thing that hits you about Firyal's paintings are the strident and bold colours. You are bathed in a deluge of sensuous hues, rendered in warm and confident combinations. Firyal is not someone who wears her Iraqi and Arab cultural heritage lightly. Weaved within the dense colours of many of her works we stumble across cuneiform lettering, beautiful Arabic calligraphy, and figures retrieved from Mesopotamian, Assyrian and Babylonian folklore."