Only very recently one of the region’s rising stars of art, today Ali Cha’aban has cemented his position as one of the solidly arisen. With a truly stellar trajectory, his recent cv includes a sparkling litany of venues, events, projects, and exhibitions of sky-high renown.
Last year he collaborated with iconic footwear brand Nike and, at the beginning of 2019, he was part of Jeddah’s 21,39 Art Exhibition with his 12PM Class Series – for which he employed massive and magnificent Persian rugs as the proxy construction material for his creation of very much larger-than-life ‘paper’ airplanes.
Today, it is impossible to read too far into a story about this Lebanese-born artist who grew up in Kuwait without coming across such designations as “sociocultural”, “dystopia”, and “nostalgia”.
Even for a corner of society quite so well known for its hyperbole – the corner inhabited solely by artists and their critics – at first glance, all appear to have fallen into a pit of floridity and embellishment where Cha’aban is concerned.
However, the truth is, he and his work are as far from the pretentions of other ‘manufactured’ work that tries to plough the same furrow as this talented young man.
If he is referred to as “a talented observer of culture and traditions”, it is because he is this not because he chooses, but rather because he has no choice. He unravels the intricate details of Arab society as easily as people like you and I breathe air.
With no agenda to his work other than to provoke a reaction which may lead to small-and large-scale societal debates, he gives the appearance of being a rare breed of artist – one where ‘ego’ metamorphoses and reveals itself instead as the utmost ‘confidence’ and ‘proficiency’. Through this, Cha’aban manifests his observations in the creation of some of today’s finest contemporary art… not only within the region, but also on a global scale.