Sons of Endymion
Sons of Endymion
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 76 cm x 60 cm
Edition: Unique artwork
Shipment: stretched on canvas
The three paintings - Friday Afternoon, Sons of Endymion, and Kousa - depict men from the region in domestic settings, with the aim to bring forth feelings of cohesion, safety, warmth, and closeness.
Working as a sequence, they create together a progression of the intimacy depicted. Friday Afternoon depicts two men looking through their window, with a flowerpot visibly placed on the windowsill. The depiction of a subject looking through the window is a common theme in painting but, usually, the subject is being painted from the inside with a perspective on the outside world. In Friday Afternoon, Nour Elbasuni renverses the perspective: the two men are painted from the outside, with one of them meeting the gaze of the viewers to engage them as spectator.
Progressing from the outside to the inside, Kousa invites us into a living room, during a sunny afternoon, where four seated men are removing the cores from zucchini to prepare a dish while drinking tea. Their attentiveness and calm envelops the scene of softness while proposing a sight rare in art history -men carrying domestic, daily activities.
Lastly, Nour Elbasuni transport us into the most intimate setting in the house, the bedroom, with Sons of Endymion. In this painting, we see three men on a bed with two of them speaking and reading as the third one sleeps peacefully. Men being on the same bed is one of the things frowned upon and discouraged in young men early-on, even between siblings, due to the sexual connotations it might have. Sons of Endymion seeks to remove that stigma, as it is a common scene to witness in lower-income households where siblings share beds, or in closer friendships between men. The painting is titled after the Greek myth of Endymion who had decided to spend most of his life in perpetual sleep just as so many young people nowadays spend a lot of their time sleeping as a form of escapism from social pressure and anxiety. The bedroom becomes a refuge from the outside world, where friendship and softness are authorized.
With these paintings, Nour Elbasuni is aiming to inspire many positive and warm feelings within the viewer, connecting them to their emotions and normalizing human closeness once again.