The son of Iraqi artists, Athar was born in Rome in 1982 but grew up in Florence.
There he sketched the old world-famous sculptures that dominate the city's street-scape. Drawing still plays a big role in his work, with his sketchy drawings of his sculptures being a second focus of his artistic efforts.
Later on, he lived in the Netherlands and, in 2004, decided on his own initiative to enrol at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium to study sculpture. In 2007, he completed his Bachelors degree, earning a Masters one year later with the presentation of an over-life-sized marble-sculpture of about 600 kilogram.
This sculpture is the first in a series of four and it is titled "Opus 4 nr. 1". Parts of an unclothed male body seem to release twisted and tortured from the in parts raw Carrara marble.
The heavy, classic material – very detailed and technically excellent worked – contrasts with the in parts anatomical incorrect extremities. Athar gives an advice by explaining that Michelangelo and Francis Bacon enthuse and inspire him.
Trained by drawing the famous sculptures of Florence – the hometown of his childhood – he combines in his work the classical and the contemporary. He extends Michelangelo with achievements of the past century and finds new ways to deal with the human body and figurative marble-sculpture, which did not play a major role in the art oft he last decades.
Linda Walter, Arteversum, Düsseldorf 2010
With his sculptures, Athar researches the expressive potential of the body, and tries to give it a place in today’s society. He sees all the physical imperfections, defects and deformities as symptoms of a contemporary human condition. Athar makes marble sculpture, according to the classical tradition.
For centuries the human body has been a means for artists to shape the man and his era, his deepest thoughs and his existence. In an attempt to keep a visual and technical connection with the classical tradition, Athar tries to give shape to the contemporary man and his innermost thoughts, his agony, his suffering; his disturbed, psychologically tormented spirit, vulnerable to the violence of life. The body being a carrier of that idea. In an age where people as individuals don’t count much, where international laws and deep economic developments determine the life of large masses, man loses contact with his individuality and his body, his animal aspect. The instinct is suppressed and even seen as a negative property. This loss, but especially the consciousness of the loss, is so present that it goes far beyond the possibility that our body has to express it. Our body is no longer suitable as an expressive means. His physicality it is to integer and intact compared to the human soul. It must be deformed, amputated, alienated, manipulated to display it as a realistic representation of the human condition of the 21st century.
E.E., Antwerpen 2008