The Syrian sculptor Nizar Ali Badr is a discrete man. Words aren’t what make him tick. Stones make him tick.
I know nothing about him, where exactly he comes from, nor where he is at the moment. I find traces of him on a couple of Turkish websites who, touched by his compositions about Syrian refugees, present Nizar Ali as a ‘migrant’.
I’ve seen on his facebook page that he lives in Lattaquié, in Syria. Is he still there? And if not, where has he ended up? I would’ve liked to know more. I don’t speak any Arabic. So I try in vain, using mediocre means of translation, to decode his few words. Despite the vagueness of the translation, I feel his wisdom, simplicity, an immense love for humanity, and his hope. His words are one and the same with the poetry which flows from each individual stone touched by the artist’s hands.
I ended up finding a few photos of him, melted into a backdrop of an unimaginable collection of sculpted stones.
Nizar Ali tells us of life.
Nizar Ali tells of life with his stones.
I’m sure that you’ve got some stones in your home. Everybody does. Those stones that we’ve all collected at different moments in our lives, often without knowing why. Those stones that filled the palms of our childhood hands, that twinkled in our adult eyes, those stones that, once home, we forgot in the bottom of our pockets. And those stones that we wanted to keep at all costs, displayed on the mantlepiece. Our favourites.
But why do we collect stones? Why can’t we help ourselves? We see a stone, on the ground, in the sand, there amongst so many others. We see it, and it’s a true encounter. Something speaks inside of us. It’s shape, it’s colour, it’s designs, it’s texture, the way it does (or doesn’t) shine. We reach out our hand and pick it up. To touch it…. it’s like a love story. There must be something in the fact that penguins give their partners pebbles before mating.
Our collections of stones tell us intimate stories that only we know and that we sometimes lack the right words to express.
The stones of Nizar Ali tell us of life.
Everything that makes up life is present… People, love, children, joy… but also sadness, war, death, exile…
I invite you all to have a look at the collection I’ve carefully put together, to mix some happiness to remorse, just as life itself does.