Raafat Ishak is an artist born in Egypt, currently working in Australia.
Raafat Ishak image

Born 1967, Cairo, Egypt,
Arrived Melbourne, Australia 1982

Raafat Ishak’s work thematises a relationship between the image and its refusal, that relationship which seems to manifest itself so often in moments of major social upheaval, like Cromwell’s England, revolutionary Russia, or late 20th century Afghanistan. Great masses of Arabic text have long been a part of Ishak’s pictorial vocabulary, implicating the iconoclastic symbolic systems of Islam. Yet his paintings also draw on the junk image-saturated culture of capitalism: football crowds, stadiums, fast food, spectacles of violence. When we encounter Ishak’s paintings, we find ourselves negotiating such divergent attitudes to the image. These attitudes are different ways to provide collectivity with its image, to shape it, to give it rituals. They are also different ways to promise a future, a constant undercurrent in Ishak’s work, which inflects the quiet secrecy of his work with the allure of the world as another place.

Excerpt: Tom Nicholson: “21st Century Modern: 2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art” Art Gallery of South Australia, (ex.cat.), 2006

Selected Exhibitions:
2006: Sutton Gallery, Melbourne (solo show); Parallel Lives: Australian Painting Today, curated by Victoria Lynn, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville; Meeting Place, Keeping Place, The Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne; 21st Century Modern, 2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, curated by Linda Michael, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; 2005: Home Ground, Ocular Lab, Melbourne (solo show); Ocular Lab:12, Spacement, Melbourne; 2004: Organisation for Future Good Steps, Conical Gallery, Melbourne (solo show); Octopus5, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, curated by Nicholas Chambers; 2004- Australian Art Now, National Gallery of Victoria, (in collaboration with Tom Nicholson)

Selected Collections
Michael and Janet Buxton Collection, Melbourne; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; National Gallery of Victoria; RACV, Melbourne ; State Government of Victoria; Private collections

Raafat Ishak is represented by Sutton Gallery in Melbourne, Australia