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Excerpts from Talal Moala's 'The Emirati Professional. Place… Memory… Belonging'  

…Mohammed Yousuf was one of the first artists to use traditional local motifs as both subject and object of a work of art. He would use doors, windows, wood, plaster and other materials that are an inseparable part of the present which, due of the fact they are hardly ever used in such a way anymore, transforms them into conceptual works.

The viewer finds no problem associating with these works even if they simply treat them as objects from the past, worthy, for that very reason, of adoration and reverence…All of Mohammed Yousuf's latest works raise the same inquiry:

Does the artist still maintain his connection with sculpture or has he deserted it for good this time after his different evolutionary stages witnessed several attempts to escape from this expressive mode?

He had escaped many times before, hovering between photography and sculpture, seeking more than once to exploit coincidences and stress the progress of local sculpture. In this he inherits a life culture that views sculpture as a medium of expression leading to a network of visual experiences.

They had not undergone the required advances under the framework of sculpture but rather through resorting to parallel concepts that regulate their expectations. A viewer can read Mohammed Yousuf's artwork outside of the framework of sculpture and it is perhaps his yearning to mix space with elements of heritage, one of his defining characteristics, that led to talking about what concerns the artistic audience, their insistence on issues of heritage as primary, tangible, visible materials that belong to the past and live, until today, as a substitute to the real crucial issues.

Mohammed Yousuf did not turn to doors, windows, ships, and other objects to revolutionize their aesthetic existence or to expand his knowledge of that era…Mohammed Yousuf's dramatic inclination is what drove him to transform the space of plastic art exhibiting into a theatrical space, making use of the language of theatre and the principles of defining independent entities that form parts of his artistic work…Clearly he has a healthy appetite to produce artwork that connects him with his thought and through which he seeks to develop his tools of viewing the problems of defining a work of art…

He depends on two basic themes: construction and movement. They are themes that depend for their realizations on the relationship of the viewer with the artwork…The viewer needs to abandon much of their pre-existing knowledge in order to recognize the new work……as well as other complications that Mohammed Yousuf will have to answer by producing more unique work that expresses its moment and stresses its presence despite the numerous drawbacks suffered by Arabic plastic arts and away from recycling the experiments of others or misrepresenting the reality of creativity.