In the “Carnival of Darwiches,” Sana Gallery and the Middle East Institute in Singapore present an extensive collection of contemporary art and masterpieces by Lebanese artist Raouf Rifai. The “Darwiches” are an extensive body of work created by the artist over the past several years. Rifai’s Darwiches are many and varied.

They share some common characteristics, foremost the fact that they are all rooted in human existence: They have weaknesses and flaws, a myriad of expressions, attitudes and emotions; they are the simple common man and the Sufi mystic; they are secular and spiritual; they are handsome and ugly; they are stupid yet at the time wiser than everyone around them; they are full of worries or playful; they cry yet derive humor from everyday tasks; In short, we recognise ourselves in them, they are us. “The Middle East in its reality resembles a circus, or a theatrical play, where you have your heroes and villains monsters and angels, as well as the brave and the cowardly,” says Rifai, “I want to give them all a role, and highlight how society and politicians under- estimate the common man at their own peril.” “My art’s main subject is humanity; it is nourished by the history of our civilization and our heritage.”

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