“The Mytical Birds” by Walid El Masri: Theses flamboyant paintings, they make us think of “The Conference of the Birds”: a masterful work by the Sufi poet, Farid al Din Attar (1142-1220). This tale tells the story of thirty birds, guided by a hoopoe, setting off on an initiatory journey in search of Sîmorgh (the mythical bird) in order to choose him as “king”. At the end of a mystical and existential epic, they discover that Sîmorgh is none other than themselves:
“The sun of my majesty is a mirror. Whoever sees himself in this mirror, sees his soul and his body there”.
Farid al Din Attar.
The paintings revolve around the repeated examination of the same material subject “The Peacock”, the mythical bird, as he explores the variations of depth and space through abstract compositions over time. The images of this “mythical bird” question less about the subject itself than about the possibility of transformation, the desire to move forward, to accomplish the impossible, by freeing oneself from traps and heaviness. of the world and of life to reach his ideal.
The Conference of the Birds was made famous in France by the theatrical adaptation made by Jean-Claude Carrière for Peter Brook.
The richness of this tale, the extraordinary character of this mythical bird is carried here in a beautiful way by a shimmering palette, sought where as it should be in the best tales, gold, blue and purple illustrate the richness and character sumptuous of this fabulous bird. The movement at the heart of the philosophy of this tale is found in the different postures it adopts according to the paintings. Text by Cecile Sportis
Walid El Masri: “Through the Peacock I wanted to get away from painful events, and rest for a while. With lightness and fluidity, it has found its place inside the painting. I understand that its only possible defense is its beauty, and its strange, painful song, like the call of a lonely man. I carry in myself a reverential fear in front of this sacred creature, present in the stories of the ancients and their legends. But, whether it represents the Angel or the Demon par excellence, the peacock remains first and foremost a peacock. »
Walid El-Masri: Lebanese origin, born in Syria in 1979, Walid El Masri graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2005. He then joined the Summer Academy under the direction of Marwan Kasab Bashi and Ziad Dalloul in Darat Al -Funun, Amman, Jordan. Walid El Masri had individual exhibitions during Egypt Art Fair, (2021), Hong Kong Art Fair, Art Beijing (2009) and at the French Cultural Center (2006). He has also participated in group exhibitions, at the Institute of Islamic Cultures in Paris (2020, 2021), at the Maison des Arts de Malakoff (2019), at the Institut du Monde Arabe, in Paris (2018 and 2014 ), at Busan Museum of Art, at MUCEM in Marseille and at Bozar in Brussels (2014). He has also had solo exhibitions in galleries in London, Paris, Jeddah, Beirut, Dubai, Damascus, Amman and Cairo. Walid El Masri has lived in France since 2011.