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Sharif Farrag merges classic ceramics styles with his own improvisational building and glazing techniques, representing his hybrid identities through clay. Raised in the heart of the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles as a first generation American born to an Egyptian father and Syrian mother, Farrag describes his childhood as a disorienting pastiche of intense suburban normality and a foreboding mysticism. In a post-9/11 America, sleep paralysis and night terrors were regular occurrences but he began to find self expression and self worth in graffiti, skateboarding, and metal music. Farrag's upbringing gives important context for understanding the vocabulary of Farrag’s ceramic universe. Populated with wildly overgrown ceramic forms, dripping flowers, shadowy insects, gasping maws, and a riot of colors, textures and sheens, the works become fragments of a metaphorical shadow world. This garden becomes a space of self-liberation from the pressures of living up to standards of representing one’s culture in a broadly xenophobic society.
Sharif Farrag (b. 1993, Reseda, California) received a BFA from USC in 2018 and is currently a ceramics MFA candidate at UCLA. Recent solo exhibitions include François Ghebaly, Los Angeles; High Art, Arles; and In Lieu, Los Angeles. Selected group exhibitions include the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Jeffrey Deitch, New York; and the 2020 Clay Biennial at Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles. Farrag’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Art and Design, New York and the Rubell Museum, Miami.