Nights in agony
By Prof. Emanuele Minardo

"Frastagliate armonie / con spazi in riverberi /
di venti Lievita sul seno / brezza indefinita / di canto"



"Quando Corpus Morietur..": notes in Pergolesi’s "Stabat Mater"; a grief-stricken fragmented waving "andante" pondering on harmonies. As such Pergolesi seems to turn our painters’ light into a poet’s word-musicalness peeping through colour heaps chosen to become signs and messages on square breathless fretted canvases for you, poet-painters, musing over memories of the past.

Waving jugged harmonies of purposes, of signs, of aesthetic rules and shapes, willingly designed to be undefined and indefinite but stubbornly restricted and readable pigments, far-created corners, shaped winding meanderings, hands on shoulders in moving generations.

A mother’s bosom is not given to sink into oblivion and to become unconsciouness; it is shown as a deep wait, a shower of light from heaven into horizontal-shaped faces.

It is when the detailed coloured pigments of a dull grey-dark/blue-yellow/red-pink light, turning into violet, goes from the tent lamp over the multitude of shape-faced words. And it does no matter if it ceases flowing on the delicate chromatic values of the ever green "zaitoun" tree or the sleeping dawn-coloured baby, or on the tangled hair of the night shaped as untiring insatiable unsatisfied, as a vague craving.

It is when such detailed coloured pigments reach the penetrating sweetness and softness of an innocent evolution, there in a hug of hands lies a never betrayed eye of innocence.

A crystal-clear mosaic in brush strokes shaping a cosmic whole bowed under a star brushed heaven vault. The multitude of looks seems an indistinct universe: on the contrary it is an introspection gesture, burning, enraged, bare, incredulous, disappointed, out in its dull-coloured eyes but not in its arms, not in its smile addressed to children fully flooded by a rising sun.
Out in your grey-blues and in your red-violets: a geometric gathering taking a form of crowds of thoughts, actions, disappointments, wishes, hopes, expectations, incredulity but never in their hands, never in their arms, never in their limbs: even the ashes of Tamam’s powdered-arches remembrance are self-denial and disappointment turning into creed.

Every element, every tiny belief is a meaningful autonomous microcosm, a main message : if we sharply look at a face expression, at an eye lightening message, at a bright or deem face (in Ismail’s canvases) we will see each of them as a main topic, as a touching element, as an involving chorus even if hidden or vanishing in an apparently negligible secondary background. It is the joyfulness of the creation, of the message, of the hidden left concealed creature: the artist’s caress to the waiting, to the sufference.

Charge of being neglected, buried in tear drops. Resurrection of the flesh. Ascension of spirits. Tired eyes, faded away in their light burning bosom; it is the only point where the white colour is alone without greys and deserted blacks. Dawn of inner nights where a heart of light goes into raptures in a face given to a breeze, given to a universe kiss, to the light sleep, to the harmonious distress of the memory and tender-given gestures.

Do overturn your eyes in these constellations of lives a sleeping baby will come towards you as he is in his surrounded mother’s arms: those arms, those eyes, those faces, those reddened covered half-shaped and given looks will come at last to innocence softness; there lie the orange and the greens, the pink-violets, the fregmented long touch-brushes of the orange-violets.

The day is absent except in the tired disappointed waving faces of the night. The dawn, in their hearts, is always sad faintly-given secluded hidden; it breaks out bursting aloud thanks to the painter’s felt colours and motion sharp-drawings: a forced hope to feel alive quaking every time dripping teachings.

I do not know when the sun will lay down its coloured fingers on these inner sadnesses, I know that in the endless look the white moments of the light will flood over the innocence that Spring recovers as days in smiles.

  Here Ismail Shammout bends sufference, toils, pains in a knot of arms shadowed under olive trees using long blackened brushes of rage entrusted with, as penetrating fingers into the earth, and followed by eyes and bending heads upon the ineluctable intensity of an unextinguished prayer.

Here Tamam leaves to forgetfulness her sorrow still creeping on her Jaffa home and follows the shadows with inexplicable trembles of fully-coloured edged-waves which change, overwhelm, worm into, meet, break, become colour sequences in the meanders of 1948 sea depths and of strechted vertical barbed iron of clouds, open wide the sleep’s and death’s pallets to turn into nights of a developing light: the look of an untainted girl sitting on the boundaries of the night forgetting loosing horses, cries overflowing inner droughts, the impetuous swing of dreams stolen to the shore.

It is an Ismail who intersects and cuts shadows to become "springtime", intensity to discover. The movements of Tamam’s oranges change its serene yellow into the dark blue of thorns and lightenings and lamps (Ismail’s). I have not seen smiles but in the pink violets of heaven’s bride’s azure edged cheeks.

The night in Ismail continuously overturns and his canvas breaks the rips of the dynamic quivering wait .

His intensity ravishes and breaks each breath in every part of his work which is intense full of images, happenings, messages, introspections, outlines, sequences of lives, chronicle in unison through stories bound to time.

A first glance at the canvas enraptures, a second attempt leads to signs, forms, prominent shapes then to hidden powers, latent minutenesses among the blue colours, the grey and the white of the canvas. Then shapes as arms come out suddenly discovered in the coloured thoughts as perceived surprises. It is the night of looks and the face set turns into single visages and countenances; unique in our eyes and in our minds, pictures in picture, canvases in canvas, thicknesses and cries. They still detain tenderness.

Each detail is autonomous. The whole is a sun’s power. Each tenderness is white and clear as life. Sunsets are as dawns more and more.

Time is melting in Ismail’s tidy palette, and through colours it spontaneously lies down shaping souls and possessing the canvas.

Time overflows itself in Tamam’s scattered palette, lying, as before, in gripping touches of memories.

The colour has also taken away the bride’s virgin dream; it has carved its song in each abandonment and runs after a night, each night, of a sinking sun .

Waves as steps transferring messages to the young: a pure shape of life.

Power of unidentified symbols of tenderness. Horses to be.
What a sense of freedom, what a longing of open feelings of life even soften, more familiar, in a grandfather’s arms to protect in innocence.
Nights in agony, as bitter murmers, shatter the quietness, yet from pink-yellow drop-boundaries - far way in the lamp colours - a low tender voice of silence is ever praying.

A symphony of sorrow and a symphony of hope. Past and future are running after each other. It is the agony of the existence: the present turns immediately into a remembrance and disappears in the blue-dark tones or in the white light mirrored happiness. The future shapes itself as a dream.

If the dream does not hold out in Ismail’s mind and in his complete sketches which call to life vigorous boys swinging stones in the sky outlines; if it does not hold out in Tamam’s limpid horse drawing lines, it turns immediately present becoming by order identified past. Your tiny past-present-past dreaming stone makes the world pale.

Blind glimmers are all the yellows hanging on the present waiting mariner standing like still seclusion on a choral voices of the past.


Prof. Emanuele Minardo
"Specialist in didactics of a Second Language Teaching at U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles and at NYU in New York.
Teacher Trainer. Senior Teacher at the "University of Jordan" D.M.L. Italian Section in Amman. Poet and
writer.Poems published in collections and anthologies. Involved in the Italian Embassy Language Teaching
Project for Jordan. Journalist. His literary and art criticism have been published in Italian national