The book of "Rasa'el Qasab" (cane messages)
There is no doubt that history is the main stimulant in building up the human thoughts and ideas through mythology, religion, civilization, and language. Through reading the Arab heritage, Abul Tayeb Al-Mutanabbi stands as one of the great Arab poets who embody the history of that time. Yet his ability to invade the reader’s mind and reading his thoughts is considered to be unique.
Jamal Abdul Rahim
(Al Mutanabbi drawing the poem instead of me)
Between the Studio and the office there are spirits flying around,
Spirits flirting among the colors, brush, press machine and ink,
Spirits taking me to flirt through colors, through memory, a shattering painting and poetry repeated in my heart.
Me, infatuated by poetry and madness.
One evening, when my hands refrained from painting, my soul was wondering around the library which I kept near my soul so to sleep calmly after what achieving what should be before the death I have been waiting for.
I was snoozed while feeling those spirits flying up in my bedroom, spirits like those of friends and poets. I began to feel sad deep inside that color couldn’t sweep it away. I saw a creature with a robe colored in my own colors, and a jubbah embroidered with my feelings, and a sword in its sheath with my own engravings. The scene was just like an artistic work which I haven’t done yet. It was a very colorful scene thus encouraging any artist to wake up from his dreams to plan for a new project. At this moment the creature was close to me while I was completely taken by the moment, he said:
How do you see me, do I deserve to be an art project for you? Take this book in order to know me better.
Amongst the book shelves there was his book which I liked. I surfed through the pages looking for some verses which I knew, those I have always liked and read several times while thinking of their meanings. Those sentences, verses and syllables which I marked, put between brackets and underlined.
I was almost paralyzed, while he seemed to be a beautiful creature that I have been always waiting for.
I am he whose culture the blind look to
And my words have made the deaf to hear
I sleep quiet eyed apart from any roving
But men wake to their courses and contend
I told him: “Oh, Poet… How marvelous you are”. He flew towards me, then, I saw gorgeous colors I haven’t seen like them falling from his robe.
He told me: “Listen my friend”. At that moment I felt I was in paradise and answered: “Yes my good friend”. He said:
I glory not in my folk, they do so in
Me, I boast of myself not of my ancestors
They were the pride of all who used DAD
Asylum for culprits and an aid to refugees
If I am amazing yet a wonder of wonders
Is that one finds none higher than this one
I am twin of reward, master of rhyme
Poison to the foe and the rage of envy
I am among these folk, God pity them
A stranger like Salih among the Thamud
I asked him: “What can I do for you dear poet?” He answered:
When you strive madly for some high goal
Be not content with what is short of the stars
If my faults come to you from a critic
That is witness for me that I am worthy
But I am a volatile spirit, get engaged in an artistic work then revolting it the following day, or dye the sea with my colors thus making its creatures follow me willingly. Sea is my other painting which I still learn how to draw.
He smiled and revealed:
Every day a new departure for you
An expedition to glory where a home is
But when the souls are of high rank
Bodies are exhausted by their intentions
Thus the full moons rise above us
Thus the mighty oceans are disturbed
He is a sea, dive there when it is quiet
For pearls but beware when the surf is up
I’ve known a sea overwhelm young men
But this one coming to a man has purpose
Earth’s kings remain submissive to him
They go from him to ruin or meet him prone
I sometimes figure you as a painting which escaped from my brush, while others have no mercy and my heart is full of catastrophes.
The times hit me with misfortunes till
My heart was fainting with the missiles
I had a feeling when arrows struck me
The head of one broke on another’s head
It was easy so I didn’t fret about loss
For I could find no use in being anxious
It’s the heart pal, my ultimate guide, to love, longing, and a body full of affection, from here, from the light of the heart I light up my studio with its engravings and colors.
I love you O sun of time and its moon
Even Suha and Farqad blame me for you
If love united us in his bright, brow
Would we might share by decree of love
I came to him with Indian swords sheathed
I watched him and those swords were bloody
If the perfumed breeze was nearest you
May neither gardens nor south wind depart
I do not choke on water but to remember
Water where the clan of the beloved settle
For you O camp there are camps in hearts
You are waste but they are peopled by you
While I was still dreaming I felt sad to see those colors and that history dripping away like many other thoughts from my mind, but he was standing and looking at me thus endorsing I will see the same colors again tomorrow in a new artistic work. He was confident while I was yielding to the light emerging from his poems and surrounding me with colors heavenly. I smile to this resemblance remembering what he said once: “I am drowning so why being afraid from the wet?” Yes I drowned in the colors, addicted to drawing and continuous work. What could ever harm an addict if he mixed his blood with color? But in the jellylike life I:
Give my soul a free hand as I wish
I control it when the lance grows crimson States
In this scene I am immersed by night, faded out with your poems. You fought with your poem in the battle without weakening, languishing, or getting bored. While here I am in the painting struggling without weakening or having enough. It’s the innovator’s way dear poet who composed my life with his poems.
I am only a strong spear you carry
Adorning upright but feared if leveled
Time is only one reciter of my jewels
If I speak verse the age comes to sing it
He runs by it who goes with ungirt loins
He sings with it who has never sung songs
Pay men who hear my verses recited
But my poetry eulogists come in crowds
Disregard each voice but my voice
I’m the speaker told about as others echo
They come to you holding their envy behind a postponed flattery, pretending to love you, and you know what they hide behind their backs, they have black clouds trying to cover you with its darkness. But your noble morals, generosity in colors and love do not stop because of their clouds.
Eye’s tears are betrayers to their lord
If the channels are tracks for deceivers
If bounty makes no provision free of evil
Praise is not earned nor does wealth stay
Soul has a nature that shows the man
Was it bounty came or pretended generosity?
Shall I close my eyes, shall I start thinking of an early departure, while your vision is like a deferred painting which I haven’t finished yet. What is this path you are paving for me, is this is my size O poet and how can a poet weight an artist. And how the poem can reach my ears, so that I can hear a sound calling to look at you and read your book or to collect my colors, clean my brushes, cover my press machine and get ready for a new trip. I could hear the sound of screams, of joy and a sacred poetry invading my body. O poet, what are you doing to me?
Wishes once were mine that dye was white
Thus youth was hidden by those gray locks
My nights with beauties, my curls a charm
And an honor but my boast now is a fault
If life were preserved only for living
We’d count our brave men as most lost
If there were no necessity in death
It would be only weakness to be coward
I have a star to guide my companions
When t he clouds shift beneath the stars
Ugly be your face O time, for it is
A face that is veiled with all disgust!
Must such as Shuja Fatik die, he
Who envied him, sub-toed eunuch, live?
Chopped off hands lie near his head
A neck cries to them: Will no one hit him?
You let stay the worst liar you had
But took the best who spoke and heard
Left the most stinking damned weed
Stole sweetest perfume that ever spread
He comes close to me, his book in my hand charmed by his poetry, tempting me to follow him. He asked me:
- Where are you going?
- To the place where the painting is waiting for me.
- Does the painting wake up and you dream?
- The painting comes before and after the dream.
- This is my soul then, take it Jamal, and take with you the guy whom I see myself in (you). I’ll endow you with the poetry and you get me the idea resting in your glass, and in your heart.
- It might be in your own glass.
- But I see myself in you.
O my two saqis do your cups have wine
Or is care and wakefulness in your cups
Am I rock? What’s wrong that the wine
Does not rouse me nor yet this singing?
So Egypt might know and the Iraqs
And those in Awasim that I’m a man
And I’m true and I rejected for not
All forced to shame will then reject it
Not everyone speaks a true word
Nor does everyone deny an eclipse
He who has a heart like my heart
Splits destruction’s heart to glory
The book opens on a painting I haven’t written it in poetry. The poet goes away taking the colors of my brush to a new poem, leaving Rasa’el Qasab (Cane messages).
My soul calms down,
His soul calms down,
While exchanging the tools, the language and the scene.
Jamal Abdul Rahim
He is one of Bahrain’s most established and highly regarded contemporary artists, exhibiting his work extensively in Europe and the Middle East. The award-winning artist builds his art from the movement of society deeply rooted in rich Arab civilization, its mythology, religion and language.
He believes that artists can pick their inspiration from everywhere and from the people around them. Although he is known as a printmaker and painter, he has become an avid sculpting fan who believes that "stone is already beautiful and by sculpting it, I am inspired, withdrawing that beauty into a form". According to him, working on stone fills the soul with a special kind of pleasure that cannot be explained, as art is a spiritual exercise which cannot be ignored.
- Born 1965, Muharraq, Kingdom of Bahrain.
- 15 individual exhibitions in Bahrain & 16 Arab and international exhibitions.
- 26 joint exhibitions including Biennales & Triennials.
- 13 National & International prizes
- 25 handmade books & artistic collections
- Honor guest at the 4th international triennial of graphic art, Egypt in 2003.
- Honor guest of the second biennial of art book, Alexandria library, Egypt in 2006.
- Member of the jury of the 26th Mini Print International of Cadaqués, Spain in 2006.
- Certificate of Appreciation in the Annual National Art Exhibition, Bahrain in 2007.
- In 2007, His book “Rasa’el Qasab” (Cane Messages) was purchased by the British Museum for its collection and was exhibited in the British Museum's Exhibition (Word into Art – Artists of the Modern Middle East) at DIFC, Dubai.
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