Hashim Samarchi

‘After I graduated from the Baghdad Academy of Arts in 1966 and while working as a drawing teacher in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1967, the Iraqi Artists Association nominated me for a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation fellowship in order to develop and perfect my graphic artwork.

I therefore had the chance and honour to spend two years with Gravura, a Lisbon-based graphic arts association, where I met a great many Portuguese and foreign artists. Those two years I spent there together with my fellow colleagues, Salim al-Dabbagh and the late Rafa Nasiri, were among the most productive and committed years we devoted to graphic art. The days I spent at Gravura in the company of many Portuguese artists, of whom I would particularly like to mention Alice and her sister, Fernando and others whose names I cannot recall, the workers and staff at Gravura, were some of the most diligent, dynamic and relentless I have ever lived.

The work I carried out in a first phase consisted merely of impressions, fantasies and compositions inspired from nature or imagination. After that, I started studying the dot and the configurations it leaves behind during its path and movement. The dot therefore becomes the line, and the line in its turn becomes the shape, and repetition of shape becomes the subject matter of the artwork and the impact these shapes have on the personal vision; the same goes for colour, its gradation and combination with other colours, since a different combination of colours produces a different impression on the viewer. From this point of view, graphic art is different from hand drawing with a brush.’

Artist’s statement, September 2018