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 Delair Shaker  (1971 - )

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Lived/Active: Arizona / Iraq/Jordan      Known for: abstract expressionist painting, sculpture, ceramics

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Biography from a third party submitted on 12/14/2010:
Delair Shaker is an abstract expressionist painter, ceramicist and a sculptor.  Born in 1971 in Baghdad, Shaker was taught and influenced by his father, Saad Shaker, a pioneer in modern ceramic art in Iraq.  In his youth, Delair Shaker studied ceramics in the Institute of Fine Arts, Baghdad.  After graduating in 1990, he continued working along side his father, participating in Al Wasiti Art Festival in Baghdad, for which he won first prize, and later partook in the Babel Art Festival.  In 1994, after attending an international youth camp for artists in Beirut,  Delair Shaker moved to Jordan in order to explore new artistic directions.  For the next few years, Shaker taught art in Ahliyyah School for Girls in Jordan, where he later became the head of the art department.  In 2005, he and his wife moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he now works and resides.

Subjects, Styles and Influences

Dealer Shaker uses various paint media, glass, clay, patterned cloth, bits of lace, gold, sand and fire to create color landscapes on paper, canvas and wood.  He uses the space on his canvas as a locus for illusion of depth and often pushes sections of foreground in his compositions back into negative space by allowing the hues to graduate from primary colors back into neutral tones.

Early in his career, Delair Shaker used clay to build and sculpt layered compositions, which he enhanced with paint and various mixed media.  During his years in Jordan, Shaker established a ceramic studio where he began experimenting with paint, sand, Plexiglas, Styrofoam, gypsum and wax to create murals, paintings, sculptures and vessels.  Shaker sought to interact with his pieces through color and form, while giving them alternate functions.  He used ceramic sculpture to create seamless conversations between clay and painting, color and shape, and especially between natural and man made.

Before leaving the Middle East in 2005, Delair Shaker traveled to Baghdad one last time and found its museums smoldering, his father’s public installations broken, his works stolen, and libraries destroyed.  In the years that followed, Shaker’s art reflected Iraq as he last saw it.  He began layering pieces of burnt, patterned cloth and mixed-media materials in-between dark colors, scored with two lines arranged into a target.  Shaker created paintings as if watching the destruction of war through a telescope belonging to the destructor, a soldier peering through a rifle, while the paintings themselves documented the war on the receiving end, through shards of glass, sand, thin strips of metal, burnt materials, color and clay.  

Gradually, as time went by and the war receded, the targets in Shaker’s paintings disappeared and although the burnt fabrics and mixed media still dominate compositions with their intricate, frayed patterns, brilliant primary colors have begun to re emerge onto the canvas.

Aiste Parmasto

Fine Art Consultant
Art d’ Art LLC
Phoenix, Arizona

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