AbdulRasoul Salman is an artist as well as the President of the Kuwait Plastic Arts Association, the President of the Gulf Plastic Arts Associations Union, and the vice-president of the International Association for Arts. Recently, he held his personal exhibition entitled “Rhythms” in Tilal Hall. Through his paintings, he reflected on more than forty years of his experience, and represented the Gulf heritage and foggy environment of an Arab, using colors, transparency, and technique - starting from realistic detailing to abstract reflections in correspondence with his own style.
Men’s passion decided to meet the artist, AbdulRasoul Salman, in order to learn of the Kuwait Plastic Arts Association, his rich experience in plastic arts, as well as his opinions and ideas.
How do you describe the relationship between the Kuwait Plastic Arts Association and the National Council for Education, Arts and Literature?
The Kuwait Plastic Arts Association was established in 1967, which enabled us to organize the first Arabic Biennale held regularly every other year since 1969. This Biennale introduced us to Plastic Arts pioneers in the Arab World, and artistic contemporary movements. Naturally, the Association has a set of objectives through which it works on introducing the Kuwaiti Plastic Art Movement, taking care of its members, organizing exhibitions and seminars, as well as cooperating with Cultural Institutions inside and outside Kuwait. From the sixties, we were considered among the most active plastic arts associations in the Arab World. Although we are more specialized in Plastic arts more so than the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature, we walk in two parallel lines and have participated together and represented Kuwait at the Cultural Week during the Asila Festival last summer.
What is the purpose of successive awards presented by the Kuwait Plastic Arts Association?
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor supports the Association with a sum of twelve-thousand dinars. Therefore, we need support from NGOs. Consequently, we organize exhibitions where winners’ names are announced among participants, and I think these awards and prizes stimulate creativity. Through the competitive spirit created by these awards, we now have an imaginative generation that would not have reached this artistic quality level in the elaboration of unfamiliar themes, styles, and tendencies. In addition, some of them even compete with the pioneer generation. The love of art should rise from inside and give joy.
Let’s move to questions relating to you. What did you newly present in your last exhibition “Rhythms,” held in Tilal Hall?
I usually hold an exhibition every two or three years. I make sure that my works add something to my previous experience, provided that it is related and not separated from my artistic experience on the level of ideas, themes, and tendencies. It is important for an artist to leave his own print, through which he preserves his own characteristics. I like to paint figures, and I use form precisely. Then I simplify these forms in order to obtain an integrated work of art with a modern touch. I renovate, I add, I eliminate until I reach a set of plastic art characteristics through which I can reach a new formula that complements my style.
In this exhibition “Rhythms”, I used some elements (outfit form philosophy culture) taken from the reality of the society I live in and exposed it with a contemporary style.
How do you compare your beginnings with today’s experience?
When I was at the Mobarakia School in 1962, I was asked to draw some of its teachers. I have been lucky enough to attend this school because it contains an exhibition hall where spring exhibitions were held; pushing me to love art and develop my talents. Later, travelling helped me get more information and acquire more expertise. I visited almost all museums and exhibitions around the world, and discovered that we are still making the first step. From the start, I portrayed the Kuwaiti environment, the popular neighborhoods, diving, the sea, traditions, celebrations, and faces from the governing family and friends. Because I like to experiment, I worked on almost all these styles: Influential, abstraction, expressional, free expression, surrealism and now I work on graphic art and wood sculpting.
How do you deal with the blank surface in order to make it a painting?
I pay attention that the idea is not direct, copied, or repeated. I start with colored surfaces and use units and elements as needed. I start each experience with reality, while taking care of all details and forms before beginning with the abstraction. In my workshop, I prepare for one idea and prepare 10-15 paintings at the same time in order to add and eliminate what I want and don’t want.
What does “artistic commitment” mean?
I believe in free commitment. Freedom in art does not mean the rejection of everything. With a little objectivity, the artist can commit to his community without abandoning the condition of freedom. There are artists who have changed history. An artist drives the vehicle of civilization. Many are the intellectual revolutions led by artists and philosophers.
How do you see the relationship between the Kuwaiti Society and the Plastic art?
The Kuwaiti society is not different from Arab Societies in general. Our culture is lingual more than visual. We no longer need to visit an exhibition when we have the opportunity to transmit the event and expose paintings on the Internet. Nonetheless, the enjoyment of plastic art is not limited to a painting and the Arabic audience knows that he is dealing with the plastic arts through everything around him such as fashion design, textiles, furniture, carpets and the tools we use.
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #40 May 2012