Hanibbal Alkhas (1930-2010)
Signature: “Hanibal Alkhas 7/78” in Farsi and Assyriani (centre)
mixed media on cardboard
Executed in 1999
- About Art Work
In a stylistic analysis of Hanibal Alkhas’ works, one must consider mythological figures as well as visual and narrative interpretations of the artist of history of the ancient world. The present narrative is a result of the artist’s profound appreciation of concepts existing within this culture and history – a major concern for the artist throughout his life. In works of this kind, Hanibal exploits photomontage, talisman writings, geometric lines, colored charts, and stylized figures, as the most important visual elements, to convey meanings. Circular, sun-like faces, rhythmic parallel figures, and symbols at the bottom and top of his work that are reminiscence of Assyrian art, play a pivotal role in narrating the work and introducing Alkhas’ special heritage to the audience.
Hanibal’s thinking is an arena for several schools of thought and illustrated beliefs he had discussed in different periods. As it was mentioned, his principle worldview had its roots in his ancestry, the ancient land of Assyria. Assyria was an ancient land within the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia that along with Sumer and Babylon, formed the most important intellectual and cultural hub of the ancient Middle East. As a result, recurring characters of his works ranged from Gilgamesh to mythological figures. Alkhas related, restated and cried out a heroic account of the woeful history of this ancient land in a visual language. He invokes Gilgamesh in a canvas, whereas in another, turns Enkidu, the genteel outlaw, into a symbol of heroism by replicating the picture. Recurrences in the work bring forth an illustrative genre the essence of which is evident in individual language of Alkhas. This individual narrative language can be detected through meticulous observation and an analysis of the elements exploited in the work.
Deliberation in a tradition of visual narration in Iranian art was a basis for this and similar works of Alkhas. Although the artist lived in the US for a long time and was no stranger to the latest modernist movements of the time, the kind of Expressionism used in his works was, unlike the dominance of exciting colors in American art back then, quite individual with a concentration on line. Due to Hanibal’s fascination with line, many of his works tend to be colored drawings. The present work is one of the best linear experiments of the artist with the same approach. In addition to expressing profound cultural notions, Alkhas utilizes diverse qualities of line and brush, demonstrating an independent character of line. Nevertheless, the artist’s exhilarating figurative experiments with color during the Islamic revolution are immortalized in the history of Iranian art.