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Gabriel Chaim recently completed an MA at the Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London, Summer 2021.
Born in Brazil in 1994, Gabriel’s inspiration came from his visits to Catholic Mass every Sunday during his childhood. His mother gave him some sheets of paper and a pencil to relieve his anxiety at the length of these sessions and he would spend his time there copying the imagery of the cathedral’s walls. These early experiences shaped his fascination for Iconography, both the subjects within the icons and the methodical, meditative process of their creation.
Later he studied Graphic Design in São Paulo, to then follow the path as a painter arriving to the UK in 2017 to study at the UAL. Gabriel exhibited at the Mall Galleries, Futures Exhibition in London in 2019 as one of the latest outstanding art graduates in contemporary art.
Chaim describes his art practice as ritualistic, similar to that of the old masters. He grinds semi-precious stones and extracts pigments to hand mix his own paints, which he then converts, using this traditional process, into a visual intellectual output and his iconographic painting.
The pigments used have two natures: mineral and organic based. The mineral ones or semi-precious stones - malachite, azurite and chrysocolla, are done mechanically, having the whole rock bashed to a fine powder using a bronze mortar and pestle, and then filtered to a cleaner and finer state with a ceramic mortar and pestle. In a nutshell, it is dusted rocks. The organic based ones need a chemical process, using an alkaline solution to extract the dye from plants, roots, grains or insects which then undergo a precipitation process turning them from a liquid to a solid. The solidified dye is the actual pigment.
He believes that artistic language, at least the one fomented by spiritual truth, delivers a glimpse of the original relationship between Heaven and earth. It demonstrates how eternal archetypes dwell in the earthly realm, albeit often hidden from the outer eye, uplifting the spirits of those who resonate with them back to their celestial home and out of exile.
Gabriel already having been introduced to traditional practices such as gilding and egg tempura, and the philosophy behind these techniques, was able to develop and hone these techniques during his time at the Prince's School.