Raafat Ishak


Born Cairo 1967; arrived Melbourne 1982; lives and works Melbourne

Working across painting, installation and site-specific drawing, Raafat Ishak's practice is informed by architecture and his Arabic cultural heritage. Using a formal but understated graphic language, where distinctive lines enclose curved, square or rectangular shapes that have been slowly built up in pastel shades on unprimed MDF, Ishak seamlessly mixes the personal with the political in a way that highlights the circularity and interdependency of these relationships. Underscored by a utopian, romantic tendency, his work is subtle, contemplative and alive to the nuances of cross-cultural dialogue and transit.

Recent individual exhibitions include: Bushrangers, Platform Hero Billboard, Melbourne, 2016; Apnea, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2015; Proposition for a banner march and a black cube hot air balloon (in collaboration with Tom Nicholson), Shepparton Art Museum, Victoria, 2012; and Raafat Ishak: Work in Progress, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, 2010. He has also presented significant bodies of work at Art Dubai, with Sutton Gallery, in 2011 and 2012.

Recent group exhibitions include: 100 Masterpieces of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art, The Barjeel Collection, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, 2017; A decolonial geographic, Devonport Regional Gallery, Devonport, 2017; Painting, More Painting, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2016; Nahrain, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, 2014; Shifting Geometries, Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, 2012; The Other's Other, Artspace, Sydney, 2012; Alienation, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2012; The Future of a Promise, Venice Biennale, 2011; NEW010, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2010; Cubism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2009; and The 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.

Ishak's work is held is many significant public and private collections, including: Barjeel Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates; Michael Buxton Collection, Melbourne; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; and The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne.



Raafat Ishak CV 2017

Artwork by Raafat Ishak

Mount East, 2012

oil on cotton duck
80 x 60cm