27 May 2022 - 27 Jun 2022

Grace versus Strength: The Elements of Ornament

Leila Heller Gallery


“I felt the invention and design of pattern was a creative practice quite beyond me. But after years of investigation and study of books, motifs, geometric patterns and designs in mosques and historical buildings, I began to understand the formulas, codes and families in the world of patterns. Today I use these codes to speak in a secret language about subjects that I find impossible to clearly express in any other way.” – Shahzad Hassan Ghazi

Dubai, UAE – Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce artist Shahzad Ghazi’s solo show ‘Grace versus Strength: The Elements of Ornament’ opening on 27th May 2022.

Shahzad experiments with classic Islamic art and the modern art while focusing on the usage of ornaments, which he describes as “the elaboration of functionally complete objects for the sake of visual pleasure” The usage of ornaments in art, although an age old practice, for most of the twentieth century has been systematically excluded from mainstream Western art-practice as well as Asian art. Since the beginning of the Romantic Movement, we have tended to equate creativity with spontaneity, but in traditional ornament, visual effects rarely happen by accident. Ornament is labor-intensive by its glamour of shapes, forms and colors.

Fortunately, ornament usage is becoming acceptable again. Ornaments are intended, first and last, to give pleasure. It transforms the inessential into a theater for passion, beauty, and invention. Unlike traditional painting and sculpture, whose subject matter provides the key to their emotional tone, ornament communicates primarily through form.The only way to appreciate ornament is by contemplating it, and gaining a new understanding of the relation between functional and decorative form. This is exactly what we can find in Shahzad’s works.