Mohammed AlKouh photographs love stories of heartbroken Syrian men

Abdulrahman – Bar Elias Refugee Camp, Lebanon – 2015 ; 91 x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print
Abdulrahman – Bar Elias Refugee Camp, Lebanon – 2015 ; 91 x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print

Kuwaiti artist Mohammed AlKouh went to the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Turkey to document the triumph of romance in a war inflicted circumstance. However, what he discovered was a series of broken love stories very similar to ones we experience outside of conflict. Greed, betrayal, and adultery led to the heartbreak of stealthy men, who survived the war in Syria but have not survived the haunt of their beloved.

Mohammed AlKouh felt the strong urge to take his old, handpainted, floral background, some of which he used in his other series, to the camp in Turkey. When he went to Lebanon, he took two wedding pillowcases with him. In an interview with Muftah he explains his series: “When I realized there were no happy couples, only heartbroken, single men, I decided to focus on the effects of their loss. Before each portrait, we would talk about their story, and the minute we felt a stream of energy, I would take the image. I didn’t ask any of them to pose for me. I managed to catch some of them daydreaming about the woman they miss. Those young men were such beautiful souls, so innocent and, yet, so unfortunate.”

Ahmad Wali – Adana Refugee Camp, Turkey – 2015; 91x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print

Ahmad Wali – Adana Refugee Camp, Turkey – 2015; 91x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print

The photographic series is now showed in the exhibition “Four Hands Can’t Clap” in the Sultan Gallery in Kuwait. Four Hands Can’t Clap plays on the Arabic expression “One hand can’t clap”. Despite the war torn conditions of these portraits, there seems to exist a prevalence of common heartbreak stories. The human need for love is once again defeated by family values, social expectations, and economic motivations. If love were to conquer all, then perhaps we would not have reached this place to begin with.

Jaber – Bar Elias Refugee Camp, Lebanon – 2015 ; 91 x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print

Jaber – Bar Elias Refugee Camp, Lebanon – 2015 ; 91 x76cm ; Handcolored Gelatin Silver Print

“Four Hands Can’t Clap” is born out of an investigation on the human desire of love. AlKouh works to capture the memory of happiness and hope in these men who are numbed by stories of conflict but touched by the memory of their loved one.

About the Artist :

Born in 1984, Mohammed Al Kouh lives and works in Kuwait. AlKouh is a self-taught artist who has explored different aspects of art since childhood.

After graduating from Kuwait University with BA in Business Administration & Marketing, AlKouh took his passion to a new level. As a child he was captivated with the idea of “Stealing Souls and Keeping Them in Negatives” so he began to photograph everything he wished not to lose. Photography became his way to steal his favourite moments in life and keep them in his closet. Growing up he developed a great nostalgia to an era he never lived, an era where everything was romantic and beautiful. With the sensitive technique of hand colouring black and white photographs he travelled back to that time by creating staged realities that give a contrast between past and present.

“In Dreams you’re always more beautiful than reality. You’re always happy and with the ones you love, and no one can hurt you… ” – Mohammed AlKouh.

The Sultan Gallery is pleased to present “Four Hands Can’t Clap” an exhibition of hand coloured photography by artist Mohammed AlKouh.

Sultan Gallery
The exhibition runs from 10-19 Nov 2015 from 10am-4pm

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