Portraits of The-Non-Existent-Bird. - DIA AL-AZZAWI.

From 2 to 11 June - Museum. Institut du monde arabe.

  • Dia Al-Azzawi, The Blue Bird.

    The Blue Bird, 1983. Oil on canvas, 69,5 x 78 cm. Private Collection. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • Dia Al-Azzawi, Portrait of the Bird ... Book, 2005

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird, 2005. Book with original digital prints, signed and numbered by the artist. Poem by Claude Aveline printed in 7 languages. Original box designed by the artist, 43 x 31 cm. Edition of 22. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • Azzawi, 4 Portraits of the Bird.

    Portraits of the Bird ..., 2005. Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, each portrait 42 x 30 cm. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • Dia Al-Azzawi, Portrait of the Bird ... Portfolio 7

    Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird, 2005. Portfolio of 8 original digital prints, signed and numbered by the artist, 42 x 59,5 cm. Edition of 22. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • AZZAWI, Sculpture, PEACE LOVER.

    Peace Lover, 1986. Acrylic on terracotta, 44 x 58 x 8 cm. Unique piece. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • Dia Al-Azzawi, Window I.

    Window I, 2000. Acrylic on wooden box, 40,5 x 40,5 x 5,5 cm. Private collection. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • Azzawi, The Sabra and Shatila Massacres.

    We are not seen but Corpses (The Sabra and Chatila Massacres), 1983. Portfolio of 9 original Prints, signed and numbered by the artist, 100 x 75 cm. Extract from Jean Genet, Four Hours at Chatila. Edition limited to 60 copies. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • AZZAWI, The Body’s Anthem 7.

    The Body's Anthem 7, 1979. Pom by Mahmoud Darwich. Original etching on paper, 65 x 65 cm. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • AZZAWI, Portrait of the Non-Existent-Bird.

    Portrait of the Non-Existent-Bird, 2004. Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas, 75 x 57 cm. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museu, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

PORTRAITS OF THE-NON-EXISTENT-BIRD. - DIA AL-AZZAWI.
Claude Lemand.

The Birds of Dia Al-Azzawi.

The bird is a fun­da­mental and recur­ring theme in Dia Al-Azzawi’s œuvre, espe­cially in his works dating from 1975 onwards, pre­ceding his vol­un­tary exile from Iraq. Thereafter, the emi­grant-bird made its appear­ance in his oeuvre (Migration 1975, The Travel 1979) as well as the White Dove in 1978, symbol of peace and of faithful love.

Far away from his home­land, Azzawi’s cul­ture goes back to his memory, with images and sto­ries from Mesopotamian arts and myths. He is not only inspired by the Sufi poets’ birds (The Conference of the Birds by Al-’Attar) and that of the great con­tem­po­rary Arab poets, but also that from the folk­loric Iraqi tales and tra­di­tions he had heard and seen from peas­ants and Bedouins during his for­ma­tive uni­ver­sity years.

The London-based Iraqi artist pro­duced a number of paint­ings, draw­ings, sculp­tures, books and engrav­ings in which fea­ture mes­senger-birds for peace, emi­grant-birds or victim-birds from the mas­sacres of Palestine and of Iraq.

In 1981, the artist had par­tic­i­pated to the Basel Art Fair with an unfor­get­table exhi­bi­tion show­casing sev­eral paint­ings whose sole sub­ject matter was the bird: Birds in a Red sky, Sleeping Bird, … and espe­cially The Travel 1 and The Travel 2, a trip­tych mea­suring 120 by 260 cm. The exhi­bi­tion cat­a­logue’s fore­ward was written by the artist Corneille:

« The can­vases of the painter Azzawi form a lush oasis. A white bird del­i­cately out­lined, like a tree’s leaf that you hold in the light of the window, peace­fully flies through the painting’s blue sky. A vibrant blue cloud awaits it (…) The com­po­si­tion is very sug­ges­tive and strongly Eastern. Some deep, scented nights.

Yet, like a sharp reminder of today’s reality, birds appear, tat­tered, torn, one of them falling with wings ver­ti­cally out­stretched, like a wounded aero­plane. Birds in a red Sky. After a very hot day, the sky has sud­denly burst into flames. Some birds fly fran­ti­cally across it, seeking the velvet black­ness of a dis­tant, becalmed night. The strength, which emanates from this recent dip­tych is cre­ated by the con­trast of the expanse of black with the vivid, glowing red which answers it.

The plastic lan­guage, which the artist has forged for him­self has here achieved a true plastic den­sity. One quality in the col­lec­tion of forms, which he offers to our view is a new and intense mag­nif­i­cence of colour; little by little writing and let­ters are dis­ap­pearing. He is con­stantly finding new and suc­cessful arrange­ments for the grouping of forms, so that he includes us in his excite­ment.

Out of this shimmer of colours comes forth, as it were, a chant; the harsh, fer­vent voice of the Bedouin in the desert. A human voice, beau­tiful as the voice of his friend Saadi. An authentic voice, which tells of the pure, harsh exis­tence of the Bedouins, the nomads, the Iraqi peas­ants, of their piety, their super­sti­tions and their highest aspi­ra­tions. And, too, Azzawi’s paint­ings make us think of Oriental car­pets, mas­ter­pieces of patience, charged with sym­bols and mean­ings.

For the man or woman who looks at the artist’s paint­ings, the glow and beauty of his colours are not only invi­ta­tions to visual enjoy­ment. - Behind the archi­tec­ture of forms and colours with their rhythmic and musical res­o­nances hides a man who speaks of his country - or, rather, sings of it. Our eyes must listen to him.
(Corneille, Encounters with the works of Dia Azzawi, Paris, 1981)

Copyright © Galerie Claude Lemand 2012.

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