15 May, 2016 - 03 June, 2016


Nazar Yahya

Artist Statement:


I came back from Beirut laden with over 500 tubes of paint.  The friend I was staying with had fallen in love with colours a while back and had bought the paint while in Paris with the intention of painting - possibly forever.  But he had stopped painting and his stash had languished untouched for a long time. 


As I packed the tubes to take with me to Houston the day before I left, it struck me how oddly they resembled little bodies, still and silent in their sepulchral boxes.


That night, I dreamt of reveling in the paint, squeezing brightly coloured strips onto unprimed canvases, resurrecting it from its stupor.  I knew that the strips held specific meanings, but despite the relative lucidity of my dream, I could not discern what the meaning was.


It was only after I was back in my studio that the significance dawned on me: military ribbons packed a profoundly large amount of information into a few strips of bright colour, taking me back into my own memory of military service and the collective memory of my native Iraq that over the months, developed into Criterion.


Nazar Yahya