Arab icons pop in local artist’s work

Artisans jordan um kalthoumg
(Photos: Courtesy of Tamer Ahmar)
AMMAN — Jordanian artist Tamer Al-Ahmar seeks to bring back the golden age of Arab art and integrate it into the digital era.

Ahmar derives inspiration from the pop artists of the 1950s to breathe life into eye-catching digital pieces that often feature icons of Arab culture, such as Fairuz and Um Kalthoum. اضافة اعلان

The young artist said he uses his work to promote Middle Eastern culture. “There are a lot of people who deny their Arab identity, so I wanted to highlight the positive aspects of our culture to avoid stereotyping,” he told Jordan News in an interview. “I also wanted to show the modern side of the Arab woman’s image.”

With bright colors and sharp lines, the 32 year-old artist uses stylistic techniques that evoke the artistic culture of the twentieth century, Ahmar said.

He said: “I wanted to translate my passion for music into visual art, so I chose to revive the culture that we once had in Arab cinema and music by painting it,” Ahmar added, “I wanted to shed light on the art that we had back at a time when Arab cinema and music kept pace with global trends.”

Ahmar said he prioritized his artistic vision over financial gain, which is why the young artist now works at bank.

“I couldn’t only work as an artist and leave the bank because I don’t think of my art as a business and I couldn’t tolerate the changes that some clients wanted to make to my art,” Ahmar explained.

Despite his love and passion for his craft, Ahmar decided to eschew an academic path in fine art.

“I don’t like to follow rules,” he said and explained that even back in school he struggled with following his teachers’ instructions, which is why he opted to keep his freedom as an artist, away from the restrictions of assignments and assessments.

“I studied business, but that didn’t stop me from being a freelance artist,” he noted.

And even though his teachers were not his biggest fans, Ahmar found his footing when he began drawing cartoons and caricatures for a children’s magazine, which he recalled gave him the courage and confidence to pave his own path.

After he left the magazine, Ahmar’s career continued to grow when he started an Instagram page to display his digital art.

“My career peaked in 2019 when I was invited to participate in the annual Arab conference at Harvard University, which many important figures attended,” Ahmar said. Within the same year the artist debuted with his own exhibition at the Jacaranda Images Art Gallery in Amman.

In the future, Ahmar said that he would like to have an art-house, and collaborate with other artists.

“By doing this, I will be able to realize many of my other dreams.”