Cloud & Smoke
The act of sketching for Karam is a lifelong, almost instinctive practice; not only a tool to express/approach the self and the other, but also to comprehend and configure a relation to personal and external realities. Karam’s work on paper is thus the foundation from which his paintings, sculptures and public art emerge and expand.
‘’For me, says Karam, the creative process is basically a manifestation of the inquisitive mind and human condition through stories, memories and identities, starting always with the stroke of a pencil. Although constantly in doubt, I have the certainty that it is about creating, not destroying. Sometimes, it feels like we are working against the tide, but it just needs persistence; this optimistic act of sketching.’’
The notion of war permeates Karam’s entire body of work.
The selection of works on paper presented in this section is part of several hundred drawings and watercolours Karam produced during the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese conflict while he was staying in Reading, England as a refugee. His sketches combine military planes, tanks, bullets, guns and smoke with their human protagonists. Within this world, there are nevertheless a few sketches containing glimpses of absurdity, positivity and reflection through Karam’s characteristic elements; birds, flowers, light bulbs or the Thinker. Through these works, Karam counters the determinism of violence and war with an underlying fierce optimism, distancing us from the bleakness of stagnation.
He returned regularly to this theme, each time with a different nuanced approach.