Madhat Kakei
Exhibitions Work
Text by: Olle Granath Daniel Birnbaum Noi Sawaragi Mats B Adonis Niclas Östlind Thomas Tranströmer


Shirts for the Light


Praise written by the poet Adonis as a tribute to art painter Madhat Ali Kakei



What we see, and we whisper, is a unique alloy

Where shimmer dreams and reality, hope and labour.

In that shimmering, the come-and-go of the brush

Of Madhat Ali explores and creates.



In that brush movement, the time is not just counted

In terms of days. This day, every single day, is a tree. Each tree

Has its own sap. The artist catches the sap and pours it

In the arteries of his creations. That is the way the painting appears:

Looks like a bushy tree, full of invisible wings. In its branches,

Nothing but horizons; nothing but trips.



Madhat Ali does not paint things as if they were

The skin of the world. He paints the secret effulgence of things.

Effulgence that aligns in rays like an orchestra: souvenirs,

Dreams, dates, migrations – on the theatre of the colours.

The lyre, therein, is translucent; it deserves to be nicknamed

The mirage of all times.




Among those things, the same dust

The artist’s feet the first time trampled on.

Oh! How his steps dreamed! Oh! How his dreams

Appeared as if they were dressed with garments

Weaved by clouds!



In each painting, the memory is a space full of voices

Which are nothing else but colours of nostalgia

Whispering one to each other and tangling one into each other.

You could think the painting resides in the sighs of its colours,

And then it steps faraway – in the breathing/expiration of the ink.




If you contemplate them, those paintings exchange looks with you.

You discover they possess like eyelashes

Which hug the vision as well, not only the view. All what they

Designate, insinuates and suggests.

As if, in these masterpieces, the light

Had eyes able to read the book of the skies;

As if the skies had hands

Able to weave shirts for the light.



To whom can listen, each painting tells

That it is itself the night, pensive on the stick of the day;


That the darkness is not blackness:

It is just a fatigue – a passing fatigue

Nonchalant in the steps of the light.





(Paris, early July 2022)





ADONIS: The Sun Itself


Homage to Madhat Kakei



A sign

is a bridge between eye and object



How can you ask me to travel outwards


undiscovered continents

lie inside me?



To understand the bird

You must read the stone



Each time, believing I have found the path

I further advance into perplexity.



A frightful ocean of words

may hide

in a ripple of silence



I dream a great deal

yet my dreams do not belong to me.



Should light deceive you

don't blame it on the sun



All objects inhabit the earth

and the sky inhabits the sky

Now you may ask which is more beautiful

and which is more infinite.

Light neither asks or takes

light only gives

Nature is a mirror

The more beautiful because unpolished.



My mind would rather trust the shore

my heart, the only sea



I doubt if silence

is the antinomy of words.



You will not be lantern

if your shoulders do not bear the light.



The body itself is your road's blossoms

it wither and blooms at the same time



The most beautiful and limpid rain

feeds the sources of weeping

that very same rain

which pouts out of the body's clouds.



The most beautiful place for growing roses

is the climat of the eyes



Each morning has a hidden body

which opens for you a child's arms



Neither the winds own a garb

nor time a refuge.

Two paupers who rule the world



Regardless of how knowledgeable the darkness

it will not read the light



The poplar tree is a minaret

and the wind, a muezzin



It is not enough to dream

you should also invent

a family for your dreams



The sun itself

will only illuminate

those who yield light



To lay down the day on night's shoulders

is a beautiful burden

entrusted by dreams

to each day.



Shade is not the sun's opposite

shade is the second light.



Creativity is a boat

sailing to no harbour.





Translated from the Arabic by Mirene Ghossein