No.9 Precious Stones series, crayon & acrylic on paper, 1998
Based in Britain, Siti no longer resides Iraq. However, he remains emotionally tied to his native land. Duhok, where he spent his childhood, continues to be a source of inspiration. Notions such as the complexity of identity, the seemingly ceaseless wars in Iraq, ethnic cleansing, the cyclical nature of violence, and family are all re-occuring themes in his work.
There is a common cohesive compositional element, an encircled monolith form. The idea of center transforms into what Siti calls "visual poetry"...as the eye moves around the focal entry point, one is able to draw conclusions as to what they feel is at the heart of each piece.
The Precious Stones series (1996-2006) creates an organic symbolic landscape. The palette Siti uses, varying shades of blacks, whites and greys, all echo the natural material that he is paying homage to. There are strong spiritual undertones throughout the series. As movement is generated around the central form, images of Mecca during Hajj come to mind. Think of the awe inspiring sight of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims as they circumambulate the Kaaba en masse. Or a scientific model of the planets circling the sun.
The second series entitled Family Ties (1999-2008) is an exploration into the notion of belonging, within the family and community. to various groups, religious, social, tribal, and of course familial. Within these groups people gain feelings of attachment and belonging that can be at times comforting or nurturing but can also be suffocating.
Through the use of geometric forms such as cones, circles, lines, and spirals, Siti works with abstract symbolism. Simplistic and yet poignant, these sober spaces speak of the continuous nature of human existence. Birth leads to death. Construction leads to destruction which in turn leads to reconstruction. His work stress the concept of universality. In each of his pieces there is a constant circular force that perpetuates the cyclical nature of being.
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