Raafat Ishak | Egypt/Australia b.1967 | Untitled (from ‘Emergencies, Accidents and Congratulations’ series) (detail) 2009 | Synthetic polymer paint on MDF | 20 panels: 60 x 42cm (each) | Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne | Photograph: Nick Kreisler
b.1967 Cairo, Egypt
Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia
Raafat Ishak’s practice is informed by his studies in architecture, his Arabic cultural heritage, and a beautifully muted graphic style. He roams freely among art historical antecedents, across centuries, cultures and within his own community for inspiration and consolidation. Using a formal but understated aesthetic language, Ishak seamlessly mixes the personal with the political in a way that highlights the circularity and interdependency of these relationships. Underscored by a utopian, romantic tendency, his work is subtle, contemplative and alive to the nuances of cross-cultural dialogue and transit. For APT6, Ishak will create a series of new paintings and a site-specific work for the Queensland Art Gallery’s Watermall. By mixing together and deconstructing a range of sources, including logos, symbols, flags, buildings and art historical motifs, the work aims to explore notions of national borders and identities, and how these relate to ideas of home and belonging. Above all else this work is about transit — across history, time and space.
Exhibitions (solo): Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, 2009; Ocular Lab, Melbourne, Australia, 2007; Conical Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, 2003. Exhibitions (group): TarraWarra Biennial, Yarra Valley, Australia, 2006; Adelaide Biennial, Australia, 2006; ‘2004: Australian Culture Now’, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, 2004.