Three Red Roses
Malallah also paints roses in another work: “1700 Landscape” (2014) *. This painting was done in response to the Camp Speicher Massacre on 12 June 2014 where it was estimated that 1700 people lost their lives. It is a rather large 200 x 200 cm depicting countless roses covering every corner of the canvas. Malallah memorializes the souls lost as beautiful and delicate roses. Malallah painted “Three Roses” two years later, thus it could be considered as a variation of “1700 Landscape.”
One could also extrapolate the notion of the three graces, from Greek mythology and apply it to the painting. The three graces are often depicted as three female figures that personify charm, beauty and creativity. The rose also holds great importance in Islam as, it where it is considered as the flower of heaven and symbolizes the human soul and its spirituality. “Three Roses” features one long blackened thorny stem with three rose heads on a gradient red to pink background. The green paint Malallah utilized for the leaves is a rather dirty and dark green that almost looks black. Moreover, the painting implores different techniques: in some areas, she uses impasto, whereas in others she uses sfumato. The recurring symbolism of balance, of light and dark, is seen here on a compositional level as Malallah offsets the dark reds with light pinks. Even in texture, the artist offsets the very thick areas of paint with extremely blended areas that appear smooth and smoky.
Malallah paints the three roses in a triangular formation; the triangle/pyramid is known to be the strongest geometrical structure. An interesting juxtaposition considering roses are often widely deemed as delicate flowers. Thus, if the roses symbolize love and passion, it could be understood they are more powerful, more triumphant than the pain of the needles and thorns covering the stem. Therefore, seeing as the rose is “delicate,” the thorns growing on the stem are a necessary measure of protection. If we run with this idea, it could be seen as the need to protect the delicate things in our life that we love and cherish, such as love, such as life.
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