Selected works by Jeffar Khaldi

Jeffar Khaldi
Disgusted

2008

Oil on canvas

240 x 220 cm
Jeffar Khaldi
Frozen

2007

Oil on canvas

230 x 260 cm

Khaldi doesn’t consider himself to be a political artist; the themes in his work evolve from his own experiences and ideas and thus provide the most powerful material for making art. In his canvases, harsh realities become mixed with imagined scenes, confusing fact and fiction with a sense of nostalgia or dreams. His tableaux are equally beautiful and uncertain. In Frozen, a man is rendered midfall, his position beatific and Christ-like. In the distance encampments of tents line the landscape, reminiscent of Palestine’s occupation.

Jeffar Khaldi
The Infinite and Beyond

2008

Oil on canvas

220 x 200 cm

Khaldi’s paintings convey theatricality in their portrayed subject matter and in their physical construction. Alongside modern influences such as the German Expressionists, Khaldi cites Persian miniatures as an interest in developing his work. His large-scale canvases evoke similarity to this ancient tradition in their geometrically balanced compositions, overwhelming detail, and flattened sense of space. In The Infinite And Beyond the image becomes almost secondary to the spectacle of its making. The landscape is rendered with luscious mimetic sensibility: water created from thin liquidy washes, sky rendered with breezy-smoggy strokes, earth with dirty fields, and trees as shady patterns cut through with spindly twig-like gestures. The wall and building in the distance seem conspicuously solid in relation to their organic surroundings. The figure in the foreground is an almost ghostly apparition, his facial features duplicated, and arms heavily outlined in white suggest movement.

Jeffar Khaldi
Sushi Dreams

2008

Oil on canvas

220 x 200 cm

Articles

EVOCATIVE ART: JEFFAR KHALDI SAYS DUBAI MUST OPEN ITS EYES TO CONTROVERSIAL AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING WORK.
By Vinita Bharadwaj

Artist Jeffar Khaldi says he is lousy at selling himself. "I can't do publicity and am just incapable of putting together a CD with high-resolution images for art galleries. It's not me," he says of his lack of marketing skills. And so, instead of hiring an agent, or improving his PR abilities, Khaldi went ahead and opened his own gallery. The gallery will host his first public showing titled Evocative Force.

B21 Gallery was not, he insists, set up to act as a platform for self-promotion but to bring controversial and thought-provoking art to Dubai. "The city needs controversialty (sic), because there's too much superficiality. If we want to be cosmopolitan we need to be open to discussion and different ways of expression," he says.

Though his criticism seems harsh, particularly when he describes Dubai as "one big theme park with so many cities", Khaldi continues to stay and work here because of what he believes it could be and makes it clear that his criticism is constructive and not intended to be destructive. "The more forms of art and allowances you make for expression - without hurting - the better it is for culture," he says.
Khaldi's work as a whole doesn't instantly come across as controversial - certainly not intentionally - though the large canvasses with harsh lines do present the works as being energetic and attention-seeking.

However, despite the furious strokes, the colours he uses balance the works and pull them away from the label of angry or dark. "I suppose there is some angst," he says, pondering over what was going on in his mind while he was working on his paintings. There is an apparent preference for oils though the occasional tapestry, garment or paper cutting creeps on to the canvas.

Source: gulfnews.com


LEBANESE GOLD


One of the most vital and compelling painters at work in Dubai today, Jeffar Khaldi is a breath of fresh air in the region"s otherwise generally polite art world. Born in Lebanon, to Palestinian parents, Khaldi trained in Texas, before moving to the UAE during the mid-90s, setting up the ground-breaking B21 Gallery in Al Quoz a few years ago. Known in art circles for his uncompromising views, powerful paintings and excellent collection of obscure American indie rock, Khaldi spoke to Heba Elasaad ahead of his new exhibition at B21. "Some people are very good at talking about their art," he warns. "They can write a book about just one painting. These people amaze me. Every artist should write a manifesto, so I guess I"m going to have to do that one day. I"ll have to get hypnotised, maybe, and then I"ll start to talk. It might be the only way."

The Texas outlaw
I had tried everything, like accounting, which I failed in, computer sciences - again failed, and architecture. Then I went to school (in Texas) to study interior design. At design school, they taught you how to express yourself, but nothing about technique. But the school I was at had a very famous art department. I took in a painting to frame, and met this guy who was studying art and was really impressed, telling me I should enter it into this really big annual student competition. So I entered it and got accepted, and won a prize. I was introduced to other artists and from them I was educated more about art and art history and what those students were into.
At this time, I also used to do a lot of political graffiti in the States, which always used to get whitewashed. They definitely weren't welcomed. I used to always fill them with Arabic texts, burnt jeeps and trucks, mosques and things like that. We got in trouble sometimes and went to jail since it was all on public property, but I didn"t care. My friend and I had fun doing it all and we wanted to shock people. Texas is really conservative and people didn't understand my work. They liked cheesy art - it just wasn"t a very good place for me.

Back In The UAE

When I came here from the States, it was really depressing. I discovered how much more they were interested in art in Sharjah. They initiated the Sharjah Biennial, which I entered in 1997. I went to the show, this huge exhibition with about 500 artists, before the opening and saw a lot of really bad work. People were impressed, but I knew art and I knew how bad they were. I ended up winning the grand prize.

Art in Dubai

Honestly, there aren't a lot of artists to interact with here; there's no angst; nothing. It's really quite bland. To be an artist you have to live somewhere where there's something going on. I can't even say it's changed really. I mean, I don't see it developing here unless the locals themselves start up an art scene - rebelling against something. People just haven't been exposed to it long enough here. To see my work, you have to be aware of what the field has been doing for the last 20 years.

Source: timeoutdubai.com


VISCERAL CANVASSES (ARTIST IN DUBAI)


Jeffar Khaldi, at his studio in Al Quoz Industrial Area. Jeffrey E. Biteng / The National
The studio, hidden among the warehouses and factories of Al Quoz, is hard to find, probably deliberately. Its occupant is notoriously publicity-shy and prefers to function here alone, working erratic hours, distracted only by loud rock music and a mewling cat.

This is Jeffar Khaldi's sanctuary from Dubai, where the 44-year-old Palestinian-Lebanese artist, the founder of B21 Gallery and a pivotal figure on the local art scene, has been based for the past 10 years.

Today, two days before his new exhibition Wish You Were Here opens a couple of doors down at B21, we're standing in this studio, a large, sky lit warehouse. Inside, the air is rich with sunshine pouring through the skylights and the tangy odour of oil paints oozes up from the clutter of pots and brushes scattered about the place.
Stacks of gigantic canvasses are stacked against the walls, between scrawled graffiti and colourful spatters. In between are mounds of junk, random pieces of furniture, including an incongruous Louis XIV replica chair and a pair of gigantic, state-of-the-art speakers. "I used to love staying here," says Khaldi proudly, ushering me through into the rear rather like a gruffly hospitable estate agent. This is where Khaldi lived, for three years, after he took over the studio in 1997.

In the rear, a camp bed and sofa sit silently. "I have everything I need," he continues, attempting to swing a small door open with a flourish, which eventually creaks half open to reveal a washing machine. There are paintings in varied states of completion everywhere. "It's a nice place to get away from everything, like Dubai," he grimaces. A small cat winds about our ankles, mewling piteously.

Source: thenational.ae


VISCERAL CANVASSES (ARTIST IN DUBAI)


Jeffar Khaldi, at his studio in Al Quoz Industrial Area. Jeffrey E. Biteng / The National
The studio, hidden among the warehouses and factories of Al Quoz, is hard to find, probably deliberately. Its occupant is notoriously publicity-shy and prefers to function here alone, working erratic hours, distracted only by loud rock music and a mewling cat.

This is Jeffar Khaldi's sanctuary from Dubai, where the 44-year-old Palestinian-Lebanese artist, the founder of B21 Gallery and a pivotal figure on the local art scene, has been based for the past 10 years.

Today, two days before his new exhibition Wish You Were Here opens a couple of doors down at B21, we're standing in this studio, a large, sky lit warehouse. Inside, the air is rich with sunshine pouring through the skylights and the tangy odour of oil paints oozes up from the clutter of pots and brushes scattered about the place.
Stacks of gigantic canvasses are stacked against the walls, between scrawled graffiti and colourful spatters. In between are mounds of junk, random pieces of furniture, including an incongruous Louis XIV replica chair and a pair of gigantic, state-of-the-art speakers. "I used to love staying here," says Khaldi proudly, ushering me through into the rear rather like a gruffly hospitable estate agent. This is where Khaldi lived, for three years, after he took over the studio in 1997.

In the rear, a camp bed and sofa sit silently. "I have everything I need," he continues, attempting to swing a small door open with a flourish, which eventually creaks half open to reveal a washing machine. There are paintings in varied states of completion everywhere. "It's a nice place to get away from everything, like Dubai," he grimaces. A small cat winds about our ankles, mewling piteously.

Source: thenational.ae