Enrapturing energetic colors dancing with movements as if in tune with some hidden performance laden with vibrant forces of emotion which seem to radiate from the unseen depths of one’s being, these are the paintings of the renowned antiquities dealer and artist Fayez Barakat. Owner of the Barakat Gallery which boasts one of the world’s largest collections of ancient art, Barakat, now 61, has returned to one of his passions, that of creating art.
Highly abstract in form, Barakat’s paintings are very real impressions of his subconscious mind and of events and feelings which take place each day in the world around him. A visit to the artist’s studio will reveal an incredible abundance of his paintings each comprised of a different style, technique and color scheme. As I toured his penthouse apartment turned art studio he told me that at times he feels that he is “possessed” when creating his art by feelings and energies he cannot fully grasp. Such powerful experiences are captured on canvas through vibrant color schemes and around forty innovative painting techniques.
Recent personal events have reacquainted the artist with his love of painting. Just last year his wife passed away from cancer. When she first became ill, he would often retreat to a studio during the early hours of the morning where he would find solace in his art. This was the first time he had sat in front of a canvas in many years. When he was a teenager he had the pleasure to have been personally encouraged by Pablo Picasso himself while living in Jerusalem.
Soon to make an art-world debut with an exhibition in Bahrain, Barakat’s paintings have been acclaimed by such renowned critics as London’s Godfrey Barker who commented that “His paintings are more powerful and explosive in mood than most abstracts by Pollock and De Kooning and they are more elegant than those of [Sam] Francis.”
The test of a great work of art is its ability to move and uplift the spectator. Barakat’s paintings do exactly this: They transport the viewer to new emotional heights and states of consciousness. This public appearance of a once secret artist adds a new dimension to the Arab and international art scene. A trip to Abu Dhabi would be lacking without a visit to the Khalidiya Palace Hotel where one can visit these special works in the hotel’s mezzanine.