Exhibitions | Something Different ||

Something Different II
November 2017

 

Dia al-Azzawi has not staged a solo exhibition in Amman for close to a decade, but he hardly needs an introduction for Jordanian audiences.   As an artist, Azzawi stands with the signature names of a Middle Eastern art market that has changed beyond recognition in the last 15 years, with the likes of Syria’s late great Marwan Kassab-bachi, or Iran’s Parviz Tanavoli.  

Born in 1939, the first year of the Second World War, he was, and remains, an artist both classic and contemporary, pioneer and path-breaker.  He would publish his “New Vision” for Iraqi modernism in 1969.   In 2017, nearly half a century later, he was celebrated with a sweeping retrospective at Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art.  The show, in that flagship of a new era, featured close to 550 works, old and new.  

In an interview last year Azzawi was asked what was next for him.  “Sculpture,” he declared.    In Something Different II, returns to Jordan with his first solo show in Amman in 11 years and his first exhibition in the country devoted solely to sculpture, a form that has long taken second place to his painting.   “I challenge myself and adopt a new vision within a different landscape of creativity," the artist says, adding:  “Maybe this will challenge the artists there, try to do something different in that sense.”

Veteran, survivor, exile, witness: Azzawi is all these and more.  London's Tate Gallery calls him "one of Iraq's most influential living artists”;   Art Dubai has recognised him as a pioneer of modern Arab art, and CNN describes him as "one of the region’s most influential artists”.  For presenter and film-maker Ricardo Karam, “Dia al-Azzawi is an outstanding and world-class artist."

The exhibition features 23 sculptural works ranging from familiar classics of his oeuvre to several colourful pieces newly executed in Amman, romantic works that test the boundaries of sculpture and abstract painting.  

There also are the pointedly political pieces, familiar to admirers, like Souvenir from Baghdad No 1, a lament for the artificial barriers that cut off   Baghdad’s war-ravaged neighbourhoods from one another.   The Ugly Face of Occupation, also in bronze, shows a tank lurking above the shape of an ancient Mesopotamian temple tower.

But in Nothing to Watch, a bronze piece first conceived in 2006, a figure looks out into emptiness from a seat on a boulder.  “When I was in Iraq, I used to work in archaeology, outside the cities, the desert area,” the artist said.  “In the desert, whatever you do, you cannot watch anything, you just sit and see what’s going on.”  The desert is like the sea, he observes; it comes to you, you cannot comprehend it. This piece also reflects back to his time in Iraq, where he studied archaeology before becoming a practising artist.

The Desert Rose series continues his exploration of the geological phenomenon,   in which wind, sand, and rock combine to create extraordinary natural sculptures in the desert, with petals like flowers.   It was while working as an art advisor in Doha, in the 1990s, that he first encountered the desert rose.    “It is something which is incredible, an abstract piece created by winds that are sometimes so strong.  It is the way I try to get some sort of identity, doing something related to the area, to differentiate.”  

In colourful pieces like Zuhra’s Portrait - directly inspired by a work by Matisse - the artist explores the common ground between painting and sculpture.  There have often been comparisons between Azzawi’s work and that of Pablo Picasso; many artists, he observes, are influenced by these masters.

While it is decades since Azzawi left Iraq, the Karim Gallery exhibition marks his continuing determination to keep his work available to Arab countries.   

The works are smaller scale than the monumental pieces he showed in his milestone retrospective in Qatar

 

Handallah
People
Dia Azzawi
Good morning Beirut
Signing
Mural
people
people
Nazar
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2009 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x200 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 155x200 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2010 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2015 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 155x200 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 100x100 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2010 | Acrylic | Canvas | 150x150 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x200 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2010 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 155x200 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2010 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 155x200 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 170x140 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 81x100 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2005 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 130x97 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 50x65 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 50x65 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 46x61 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 30x40 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 24x32 cm
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2016 | Charcoal and Ink | Paper | 24x32 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 170x200 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 200x170 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose #4 | 2012 | Colored Aluminum | 95x86x54 cm | ED.2 of 3
Walaa Dakak | Untitled | 2010 | Acrylic | Canvas | 170x130 cm
Nazar Yahya | Revealing | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 188x111.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | Hiding | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 188x111.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | Seat 2 (The Head) | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 164x111.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | Seat 1 (The Arms) | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 164x111.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | Seat 3 (Ecstasy) | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 164x111.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | The Dilemma | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 111.5x95 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | He Is The Truth | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 111.5x92.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Nazar Yahya | Ascension | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 115.5x183 cm
Nazar Yahya | Incarnation And Union | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 61.5x137.5 cm
Nazar Yahya | Magic Cane | 2013 | Giclee Print | Photo paper | 61.5x127.5 cm | ED.1 / 3
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 200x170 cm
Sinan Hussein | Legitimate Relation | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 120x150 cm
Sinan Hussein | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 140x190 cm
Sinan Hussein | Untitled | 2013 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 120x150 cm
Sinan Hussein | Fishing For Kindness | 2015 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x190 cm
Sinan Hussein | Just A Dream | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x210 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose #4 | 2013 | Polyester Resin | 40x34x35 cm
Dia Azzawi | Totem #1 | 2017 | Polyester Resin | 135x120x40 cm
Dia Azzawi | Mural For Silent Music | 2014 | Polyester Resin | 200x300 cm | ED.1/3
Dia Azzawi | Imaginary Temple | 2017 | Stainless Steel | 60x45x20 cm
Dia Azzawi | Golden Altar | 2017 | Polyester Resin | Canvas | 44x35x19 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose #7 | 2013 | Polyester Resin | 78x53x35 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose #1 | 2013 | Polyester Resin | 80x48x40 cm
Dia Azzawi | Colorful Bird #2 | 2017 | Polyester Resin | 60x42x12 cm
Dia Azzawi | Butterfly | 2017 | Polyester Resin | 44x35x19 cm
Sinan Hussein | Selfie II | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x120 cm
Sinan Hussein | Right Path 3 | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x120 cm
Sinan Hussein | Issa | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 130x130 cm
Sinan Hussein | In Agreement | 2016 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 130x130 cm
Sinan Hussein | Worrier | 2016 | Acrylic | Canvas | 147x80 cm
Sinan Hussein | Untitled | 2015 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x105 cm
Sinan Hussein | Untitled | 2015 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 140x135 cm
Sinan Hussein | Waiting II | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x290 cm
Sinan Hussein | Waiting | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x190 cm
Sinan Hussein | Icon | 2013 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 50x50 cm
Sinan Hussein | Icon 2 | 2013 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 50x50 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x200 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Paper | 50x65 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Paper | 32.5x50 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Paper | 32.5x25 cm
Walid El Masri | Untitled | 2016 | Mixed Media | Paper | 50x65 cm
Nazar Yahya | Plant 1-2 | 2013 | Giclee Print | Paper | 61.5x121.5 cm
Nazar Yahya | Allah | 2013 | Giclee Print | Paper | 61.5x116.5 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 70x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 70x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 70x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 70x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 65x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 65x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 65x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Paper | 65x50 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 140x100 cm
Bahram Hajou | Human Beings | 2017 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 160x250 cm
Sinan Hussein | Tourists | 2009 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 60x60 cm
Sinan Hussein | Living In Time | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 65x65 cm
Sinan Hussein | Selfi I | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x210 cm
Sinan Hussein | Isolation Legitmacy | 2014 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 180x210 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2015 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 150x120 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2017 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 140x95 cm
Bahram Hajou | Untitled | 2015 | Mixed Media | Canvas | 70x60 cm
Dia Azzawi | Handallah: Good Morning Beirut | 2016 | Polyester Resin | 47x49x35 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose No.5 | 2013 | Polyester Resin | 68x56x48 cm
Dia Azzawi | Colorful Bird No.1 | 2017 | Polyester Resin | 58x30x21 cm
Dia Azzawi | Desert Rose No.3 | 2013 | Polyester Resin | 29x36x27 cm
Dia Azzawi | Silk Road No 3 | 2008 | Acrylic | Silk Screen | 160x300 cm
Dia Azzawi | Silk Road No 4 | 2008 | Acrylic | Silk Screen | 160x160 cm
Dia Azzawi | Silk Road#1 | 2006 | Acrylic | Silk Screen | 170x200 cm
Dia Azzawi | Silk Road No 2 | 2007 | Acrylic | Silk Screen | 160x200 cm