Artist Statement: A Piece Of His Beautiful Soul/Humanity Is Going To Rub Off On Us

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Artist Statement


Can we avoid looking at his women on the canvas, with their piercing eyes, despite knowing their detachment from their real character?

Tarek Butayhi may suggest this thought to us, in order to fairly acknowledge his power in transforming and elevating those bodies from their free senses into a space full of beauty which generously blesses his subjects with purity. This blessing of purity, however, is not exclusive to his women drawn with innocence.

The existence of those shattered women standing before us remains a secret. His sketches, despite implying the beauty and sensuality of the bodies, surely keep the secret while avoiding criticism. Those sketches (drawings) are invaded only by a sense of wicked flirtation which resembles memories from a distant past.

You can observe life based on what it brings, carrying pure and expressive values that the artist has already experienced while conceiving his drawings. Those pure values may stand between us while we are contemplating this feminine and implicitly sexual body. According to Butayhi, this body was only an excuse to draw; an opportunity for the art to exist under extreme pressure. Undoubtedly, we are obliged to contemplate a secret world that we cannot perceive in our daily life. Although this world receives its happiness from the artist, it will soon be forgotten, as our eyes look over the paintings that have been soaked with the artist’s pleasure.

One streak of Butayhi’s brush will transport us far from this world full of tainted imagination. It is at this moment that Butayhi keeps his feet on the ground, peacefully thinking of his ancestors, tapping on his shoulders through the consented witches; Toulouse Lautrec and Egon Schiele. Butayhi resists the urge to look upon the work of his ancestors, although he is in continuous admiration of their legacy.

His drawings only describe his visual living experiences; he strives to be one of the few artists to concentrate on the secrets of the human body. The flirtatious desire and sensual curiosity freely transfuses our bodies, and reaches into our souls, a place where the effect of beauty meets the strength of art. This is when Butayhi relishes the memories, most of them in his imagination. His works of art raise all kind of questions regarding the fate of the body. This is a sensual artist that has the power, with his bright imagination, to bring back memories and spark life in them.

While drawing, Tarek abandons his natural senses and submits to his ideas, governed by the primitive rules of imagination. But, do we have to excuse him for using the feminine body as a purely personal experience? There should be no misunderstanding of the issue, because the Butayhi that is drawing is not the same one that is using his senses. His visual memory will come alive in the beautiful ending, which culminates in his art. This memory, however, will not be spared by the criticism of art itself. Filling the emptiness of the suffering our reality brings is the

goal of the artist. He uses his imagination and psychological gifts until he attains what he considers is close to perfection, and that is when he removes his hand from the canvas.

Tarek Butayhi is the son of his own visual memory, but he is also the enemy. He chose not be handsome and flattering like Lautrec. Simultaneously, his artistic bareness resembles that of Schiele, without attempting to imitate Schiele’s exaggerated obscenity. What we can say about Tarek Butayhi is that he is a type of purist artist that does not regard the body in sexual terms. Rather, he takes a step back, transforming the desired body into an inspiration vessel, an opportunity to draw. He does not wish to expose the body, but instead to consider its suffering. A piece of Tarek’s beautiful humanity/soul will rub off on us when at the sight of his

By Farouk Youssef