DR MUHAMMAD AL-FAILI sent me a letter along with a peculiar painting – a naked man with black paint on his face, leaning on the edge of a rock and beneath it is a dark lake or sea.
This naked man extended his arm to save an old man who is about to drown. Beside him is a semi-naked young mother holding a tree branch with her left arm and lifting her baby with her right arm to be saved by the naked man. This man left the mother and her child and extended his arm to save the old man.
The title of this portrait, “Scene of Deluge,” represents the ideology of many of our current societies with their retarded elites and claimers of modernity and understanding. It is worth mentioning that this critical portrait was drawn in the 16th century, during France’s enlightenment era.
The caption says: Pardon for the nudity of the portrait, but it is the age which Europe lived in centuries ago, whereas we are still living in it.
This portrait is one of the best works of great French painter Joseph-Désiré Court (1797-1865). It is inspired by the flood in the Bible’s Book of Genesis.
The portrait depicts a man who is keen on rescuing an old bearded man from drowning as he leaves his son and his wife.
The portrait appears to be shocking but it depicts how Europe was before the Renaissance – the old man represents the past, his beard represents heritage, the red color symbolizes the religious status of the old man, the son represents the future; whereas the wife is a symbol of life, land, love and peace.
Despite the fact that the son is closer to him – the father – even in the portrait itself, and easier to save; let alone the fact that he is from his loins and lighter in weight, the father insisted on rescuing the strange bearded man who is far from him and has no future.
This entire portrait is a symbol of how a human being holds on to his beliefs even if they are wrong. The outcome is that holding on to the past could sink the future.
We also see the head of the naked man is painted in black to indicate ignorance and ‘aphotic’ thinking, the old man appears to be at the end of his life while the woman’s body and that of the child inspire life and fertility.
This means, revered things control even our minds and emotions, especially hallowed ignorance.
I have nothing to say to the genius painter Désiré whose portrait raised him up to life except, “The good is with you and us.”
Your art work and deep insight burnt down centuries, decades and years. Here we are, living in the 21st century with people among us who glorify religious figures and the ideology they represent, although their ideology is far from rationality and reality.
Among us are those who glorify religious and sectarian heritage that breaks apart any social texture. At the same time, they claim modernity and open-mindedness.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli – Former Minister of Oil