Andreas Weiland
 
EIGHT PAINTINGS BY HADDAD MAURICE:
A POETICAL READING

                                                No. 25
                                 [Amulets Like Green Fields]

                                           glowing turquoise
                                                  color
                                   a warm
                                              glowing red

                                    an aerial view
                              of the green fields
                                                   of Mesopotamia
                             almost symmetrically
                                         arranged
                                     like 4 squares
                           with rounded off
                                                   corners 

                                What I see crossing it
                              Are pathways of a dream

                                  What I see in it

                                    is a building
                                      its red roof
                                 seen from the sky
                               in which the bombers 
                                    were for a moment

                            the building is a square
                             with rounded off
                                        corners
                                     standing 
                                       on one
                                           corner

                     a stop sign
                        with magic
                       Chinese characters
                             flashing up
                            in turquoise
                                   green

                          framed by a 
                             blue ditch

                   It is a mysterious
                           stop sign
                  saying stop for
                           a minute
                 stop and think about
                     your native place
                      your loved fields
                    your fields that are
                         now poisoned
                       by the iron oxide
                           of the iron
                           the copper oxide
                                of the copper
                           of so many bombs
                     so much ammunition
                               rotting
                            in the swamps
                         the vast Basra 
                               marshes
                            that encircle
                                  the fields
                                    of the farms

                       Native place
                            loved place
                     you are like
                   an amulet
                        worn by the
                       women of
                      Mesopotamia
                         4000 years ago
                         5000 years ago
                             above you
                           hovers
                         the sickle of the
                                 moon 
                     the painter has 
                  given the golden trace 
                           of his
                         delicately drawn
                               line to it

                           the sickle 
                         rests above
                            the fields
                        in the sky of
                                Iraq
                               It rests
                               at night
                              peacefully
                           and eternally
                          it shines on all
                            women on all men
                            on all children

                             and the night
                             is dark and blue
                           and like the
                              world of our 
                                 dreams it rests

                                  and 
                                      engulfs
                                 and bewitches
                                and comforts us
                           and in it 
                                 not only
                               the memory of 
                                        the fields
                                             appears
                         the red roof of the
                                     house
                               that is burned now

                              but I see
                           the stylized 
                                     horns
                                   of the ox

                              the ox the farmer
                                  uses to 
                              plough his fields

                             It is decorated
                                with amulets
                           it is decorated
                                with mysterious 
                                      spots
                           bluish turquoise spots
                                4 on the left horn
                                   3 on the right

                            and they are
                                  to keep
                             the bad looks
                                    away
                            from Haddad
                                      Mauriceís
                                 native village
                                from his farm

                                from the land
                              of Mesopotamia
                                  and its people
                                        the common people
                                          he loves so much
 

                                        Haddad
                                  Maurice 
                                     has told me 

                                    he has painted 
                                   an amulet
                                the traditional
                                      amulet the
                                      women of Iraq
                                             wear
                                    the peasant women
                                  the women of
                                      the countryside
                                  poor + superstitious 
                                        women you may claim
                                 But he has done much
                                        more than that
                                      he painted a dream
 
 

                                          No. 4
                    [Palms of Arabia, Wet Fields of Iraq]

                                A water color
                                      painting today
                              seems to be
                                    a very traditional 
                       thing  - epigonic 
                              almost. We all know
                       it is hard to surpass
                            Turner, for instance
                                 Or Nolde

                                But Iíve seen
                            Water color paintings in
                                    Taiwan
                              that brought out
                                in a way
                               a Chinese
                                     atmosphere
                                 a Chinese
                                       mood 
                                     vis à vis
                                      a rather
                                        Chinese reality
                                  A Chinese 
                                       way of observing
                                   and a Chinese love
                                            for life

                                I sense the same
                                      in this painting

                                the rain clouds
                                     heavy above
                                 the rice fields
                                       above the 
                                           marsh lands
                            The palms
                                    of Arabia
                       The brown knees
                              And face of a peasant
                           briskly
                                     stepping 
                               thru the mud
                                   trailed by the
                                       tranquil oxen

                                     huang niu 
                                    the Chinese
                                            would have
                                             called it
                                          sui niu
                                    water buffalo

                                 In the background
                                       peacefully
                                   two water buffalos
                                         bow their head
                                     or push it forward
                                         eyeing boats 
                                              on the water
                                                       Curiously!

                                             while a third
                                           uses all of 
                                                     his energy
                                           to draw its
                                                  hind legs
                                           from  the 
                                                          mud
                                                and make it
                                                      to higher ground
 
 
 

                                           The colors are
                                                delicate in
                                                   this painting
                                            they are serene
                                               they breathe peace
                                                         or a quest for
                                                                 peace

                                                     a longing 
                                                     for what
                                                      has been lost
 
 

                                       No. 11
                        [Hammurabi Gives the Scrolls 
                                     To the king]

                                At a time
                             I cared most for Léger
                                 His builders
                                His scaffoldings
                                    His joy dí vivre
                                    of a productive 
                                         working class

                                               today
                                      Iíve encountered
                                             another
                                              builder
                                     another constructeur
                                                 a man
                                         who is a peasant
                                          who constructs
                                            from the traces
                                               and dreams
                                              of the past
                                                  the shards of
                                                          the past 
                                            our fragmented
                                                knowledge
                                               of the past
                                         that the archeologists
                                                 dug out
                                              in his fatherís
                                               backyard
                                            because the peasants
                                                    told them
                                              of their discoveries
                                                     in that backyard
                                                              Shards 
                                                               Shards

                                                           writings

                                                              images

                                                                dreams
                                                               stories

                                                   carried over into the
                                                             folk art
                                                          of the peasants
                                                              the amulets
                                                            of their women

                                                       Haddad Maurice
                                                         is no folk artists

                                                     He is an artist
                                                    connected with the
                                                        memory of the folks
                                                           in the villages

                                                        the memories
                                                           of his
                                                          own kind

                                                              Of the
                                                             Peasants

                                                           the peasants
                                                                of Basra
                                                           the land
                                                               between the rivers

                                                        the fields engulfed
                                                           by the marshes
                                                                      created
                                                                  by the rivers

                                                                     But in the 
                                                                        North
                                                                also in the 
                                                            country between
                                                                         the rivers
                                                                 they built from
                                                                        the mud
                                                                 transported by the
                                                                            rivers

                                                                        they made bricks
                                                                              from it
                                                                       they found stones
                                                                                in it

                                                              and so, we see
                                                                         here
                                                                the tower
                                                                        constructed
                                                            the platform
                                                                  of the law giver
                                                                 of the culture
                                                                                  bringer

                                                                        facing the king
                                                                            as his adviser

                                                                        It is a world
                                                                     of secrets
                                                                          packed in boxes

                                                                     a world of
                                                                   papier-mâché
                                                                          and
                                                                    bearded men

                                                                          a world
                                                                with the blood red
                                                                      writing on the
                                                                              wall
 
 

                                                    No. 12
                                             [Yellow Like 
                                               Ripe Wheat]

                                                    Chinese
                                                      stamps
                                                   Sumerian
                                                 stone plates

                                              symmetric fields
                                                    of Iraq

                                                an abstract painting
                                                         constructed
                                                    from patches 
                                                           of yellow squares
                                                               ochre squares
                                                          a near circular
                                                            yellow shape
                                                        holding inside it
                                                            the red shape
                                                             of a chameleon
                                                               a human being
 
 

                                                      Wherever you look 
                                                     you see the traces
                                                                of  writing

                                                            Sumerian writing
                                                                 the heritage
                                                                           of the land

                                                                 but the cow
                                                                the horned bull
                                                                   half hidden
                                                                         by the
                                                                      plates
                                                                    by the writing

                                                                      turns its head
                                                                          and looks 
                                                                         backward

                                                                      vital          tender
                                                                          watchful
                                                                         full of sadness
                                                                         as it eyes us
                                                                        our world lost
                                                                      a world kept alive
                                                                              by the painter

                                                                     world of dust and wheat
                                                                          sand and shards
                                                                                    world
                                                                 Yellow Like 
                                                                                            Ripe Wheat
 
 
 

                                              No.22
                               [Again the Sickle, Again the Star] 

                                               Again
                                            the sickle
                                                 again
                                                the star

                                        golden star
                                         golden trace
                                            in the night
                                       your  line
                                               frames the universe
                                  a world traversed by 
                                    a boat pushed
                                           thru history

                                         a boat 
                                         made of
                                                papyrus
                                            a fragile boat
                                                 with the mythical
                                                         King of dreams
                                                                 carried by it

                                    he is propelling it ahead
                                       using his pole
                                      thrusting the pole
                                          into the marshy
                                        water-covered
                                                       earth

                                                  the king wears
                                                         a cap
                                                     the cap
                                                     is a golden
                                                                 moon

                                                        another sickle
                                                      in the world of man
                                                          a symbol
                                                         of transcendence
                                                                 immersed
                                                                    within immanence
                                                              reduplicating
                                                                       the far sickle
                                                                              in the sky

                                          confronting
                                          the rower
                                        the traverser
                                            of the sea of life

                                             is a dancer
                                               is a woman

                                              is a magical
                                                   woman
                                            a witch woman
                                               a dream woman
                                             a sacred woman
                                                     a real woman

                                              a figure from
                                         far away
                                                       from the times
                                              sunk in the
                                                    past
                                             in the beginnings 
                                                   not of
                                                   mankind
                                                  but of culture
                                                  as we remember it 

                                           The human universe
                                                   is that woman 
                                               the human 
                                                   universe is
                                                        that man

                                                      it is the dancer

                                                   it is the wise
                                                           man
                                                     the giver of
                                                        the law

                                                        morality
                                                         ethics
                                                       the connection
                                                               with
                                                               the sky

                                                          its stars its laws
                                                       and the calculations thereof
 

                                                       In Haddad Mauriceís 
                                                                 work
                                                          this universe
                                                             of woman 
                                                                   and man
                                                                of the culture bringer
                                                             and the bringer of joy
                                                                       music + dance

                                                                   swings like a
                                                                      baby in the 
                                                                 fluid of the uterus

                                                     in the
                                                  streams 
                                                         running on
                                                              forever
                                                                   as / with
                                           silvery scales in the darkness
                                                            the fish flit

                                                                I love you
                                                                    little fish
                                                                 I love you
                                                              Although the
                                                                  Americans
                                                                        have
                                                                      poisoned you
                                                                    with their bombs
 

                                         No. 21
                                          [Freezes]

                                        Looking at 
                                             the freezes
                                      three bands of
                                                   freezes
                                 one on top of the other

                                          is it that I
                                         am reminded of Greece
                                           is it that
                                         I am reminded
                                                              of Egypt?

                                                No

                                          It is another 
                                                   land
                                              another culture
                                                   Agrarian
                                                      Rooted in
                                                            the soil
                                                       in  the clay
                                                          and sand
                                                        the mud made up of the
                                                                  water 
                                                             and earth
                                                             of Mesopotamia

                                                       Geometric 
                                                      shapes frame
                                                           the freezes

                                                           Yellow color
                                                                   of the
                                                           papyrus flower

                                                       how cool and
                                                             comforting
                                                     how beautiful you are

                                                              Bluish 
                                                                green
                                                         copper oxide
                                                   mixed by the artist
                                                         how dreamlike 
                                                               and transcendent
                                                             and serene
                                                                         you are

                                                                Clay color
                                                                ochre color
                                                                of the freezes
                                                                      mixed with
                                                                  copper oxide
                                                                         turquoise

                                                                          how
                                                                         dusty

                                                                        how misty
                                                                         how earthy

                                                                             you are
 

                                                                            In it
                                                                      movements
                                                                          catch the eyes

                                                         the movements
                                                                 of human
                                                                              creatures
                                                                of animal
                                                                         creatures
                                                 of warm and alive
                                                          creatures

                                                       of creatures
                                                  as old and
                                                  elementary
                                                          as the
                                                  rivers of Iraq

                                                          as eternal
                                                          and contemporary
                                                                  as
                                                               the peasants
                                                                  of Iraq

                                   Iíve seen 
                              the women 
                            sitting there
                                  weaving

                                Iíve seen
                              the scribes
                                       writing

                                   Iíve seen
                                         the shepherds
                                     among the rams
                                                  and sheep

                                      Iíve seen the
                                           Horse
                                 among the servants
                                                    and king

                                                     But perhaps
                                                           the king
                                                      was no king
                                                             it was
                                                          a law giver
                                                         a wise man

                                                       a white-haired 
                                                              peasant
                                                          breaking the stones
                                                               of his land
                                                        and writing with them
                                                             on the stones
                                                                    of his land
                                                             the hewn stones
                                                                               of his land

                                               The Freeze
                                            the three freezes
                                                     I imagine
                                             on stone tablets
                                                   from ancient
                                                       Sumer

                                         And the artist
                                               the peasant artist

                                the artist peasant

                                                has discovered them 
                                                             again

                                              in a dream

                                           in a moment of history

                                             so he painted that history
                                                      that moment of
                                                                remembrance
 
 

                                             No. 14
                                   (An Arab Lissitsky)

                                         Do you 
                               know  works by
                                       Lissitsky?
                                    El  Lissitsky? 
                                  The constructivist
                                         Lissitsky?

                        Here is
                      An Arab
                         Constructivist
                               An Iraqi
                             Constructivist

                           a  peasant
                                 constructivist

                           he dreams up
                                     the geometry
                                    of his fields

                             he reflects
                         the geometry of
                                   irrigation
                                                   ditches

                                      he puts across it
                                     the geometry 
                                          of Arab
                                                  calligraphy!
                                              Of letters!

                                             He used
                                        A bright
                                        vermilion red

                                       A stark
                                         charcoal black
 

                                        some ochre tones 

                                              to create
                                         a dynamic structure
 

                                              A Lissitsky
                                                   Structure

                                                An abstract
                                                       Arab
                                                    Lissitsky
                                                               Structure
                                                That is rooted
                                                       In the land
                                                   - and in
                                                              history 
 

                       Haddad
                   Maurice
                         is rooted 
                                  in history

                      consciously
                    unconsciously
                             he is
                         rooted in
                                  history
                     where the old gods 
                            of Sumeria
                       the fields the letters
                  the cuneiform script 
                                       of the past
                               make their
                             reappearance

                          in glowing 
                                  colors
                          full of joy
                                 of love
                                         for life
 
 

                                         No. 27
                             [Like a Light Out of Darkness]

                                          the light bright shape
                                                      protruding into
                                                 the dark

                                     like a comet, it is
                                               flashing up
                                                    in the night

                                               I see a fish
                                            diving  down 
                                                 into the deep
                                               of the muddy river 

                                                   I see
                                                 a bomb 
                                                tearing apart 
                                               the darkness of
                                                     the sky

                                                      Like lightning 
                                                                    flashing
                                           Like lightning
                                                          flashing

                                            I see the history
                                                    Of a land

                                                 The marshes

                                                 Mesopotamia

                                                       Cut up

                                                     And put together
                                                              Again

                                                  The elements dug out
                                                          from the depth
                                                                of  the past 

                                                            And reshuffled
                                                          And recreated

                                                     Here it is - 
                                                    Sumeria -
                                                          that old culture
                                                 hidden in the
                                                         soil of the farm
                                                        hidden next to
                                                               the farm house
                                                        where so many
                                                               archeologists lived
                                                          put up hospitably
                                                              by Haddad Mauriceís 
                                                                         father

                                                                    Englishmen?
                                                                  Frenchmen?
                                                                        Germans?
                                                                      Americans?

                                                    Today they repay him
                                                             With bombs
                                                        No Ė not they:
                                                     Their children
                                                    or the superiors
                                                         of their children
                                                           The rulers

                                       Mesopotamiaís 
                                       rulers vanished
                                      in the dark of
                                          history

                                 but the invention
                                      of the concept
                                   of degrees, 360
                                degrees to a full
                                        circle, remains

                                         And the 
                                     Theorem of
                                        Pythagoras
                                           Remains
                                      Dug out from the
                                        soil of Sumeria
                                     Twice as ancient 
                                                   as Pythagoras
                                                         The Greek

                                                 And the words
                                                        remain
                                                    Words from Sumer
                                                        representing
                                                     a social reality
                                                                  representing
                                               a human being
                                                             living flesh
                                                        FISHERMAN
                                                              it says
                                                            in Sumerian 
                                                            PEASANT

                                               Iím a peasant, too,
                                                               Haddad Maurice says

                                                                 In the dark
                                                             there lights up
                                                                   the bright shape
                                                            wearing the dark
                                                                marks of history
                                                                  black + red
                                                                       and ochre

                          In the geometrical
                                   shape representing 
                         the concept of 360 
                                    degrees
                                  lights up
                            the bright red
                                        of Iraqís earth

                  the  charcoal 
                        dark
               of burned palm trees
                      darkens the sky

                                  the night
                                engulfs us

                           The black clouds -
                           Drifting past from
                         the burning oilfields

              For a moment the day has turned
                           as dark as a well

                       But within it, hidden
                  in the forgetfulness of man
                                   Hidden 
                               in the charitable heart
                         Fruitful like the soil of the land

                               A memory surfaces
 

 

             The numbers are those of M.H.'s untitled works, as shown in his Trier exhibition in 2002.
 
 

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