Friday, May 29, 2009

John Abduljaami at A440 Gallery

In a West Oakland lot at 2205 Magnolia, just off West Grand, sculpture artist John Abduljaami lets the wood be his guide. He's there almost every day working from 9am to 5pm. Sometimes he sees a bird. Other times it's a dog, a cowboy on horseback, a rat or a walrus. "Then I start drawing with the chainsaw," Abduljaami told Spark in an interview.

Abduljaami's fascination with wood began when he was a child. Living in a makeshift home that he describes as a shanty, Abduljaami's family depended on a wood-burning stove and heater for cooking and warmth. His father regularly toted wood home at the end of the day. By the time Abduljaami was 11, he was sneaking the family's best butcher knife to carve his figures, much to his mother's consternation. Later, Abduljaami had a job cutting wood, which was where he learned how to use a chainsaw. He came to this point in his life through some difficult ways but what he creates now is full of life and life-affirming.

at A440 Gallery, 49 Geary

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