DIA AL-AZZAWI, A RETROSPECTIVE, FROM 1963 UNTIL TOMORROW. Exhibition from 15 October 2016 to 16 April 2017.

From 15 October 2016 to 15 April 2017 - QATAR MUSEUMS Mathaf + Al Riwaq, Doha.

  • AZZAWI, Al-Mu’allaqat 3.

    Al-Mu'allaqat 3, 1978. Indian ink on paper, 92 x 64 cm. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

  • AZZAWI, Sunset over Basrah.

    Sunset over Basrah, 1990. Acrylic on canvas, 91 x 122 cm. Donation Claude & France Lemand. Museum, Institut du monde arabe, Paris. © Dia Al-Azzawi. Courtesy Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris.

Dia Al-Azzawi: A Retrospective, from 1963 until tomorrow.


A major ret­ro­spec­tive of the work of Dia Al-Azzawi is to take place simul­ta­ne­ously at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha, opening over two days on 16 and 17 October 2016 and run­ning until 16 April 2017.
Dia Al-Azzawi is an inter­na­tion­ally recog­nised and promi­nent fig­ures of modern and con­tem­po­rary art in the Arab world.The exhi­bi­tions will show­case 400 works span­ning two museum spaces totalling 9,000 square metres, this will almost cer­tainly be the largest ever solo exhi­bi­tion by any Arab artist. Azzawi has lived in London since 1976.

I am the cry, who will give voice to me?

The exhi­bi­tion is curated by Catherine David, Deputy Director at Centre Pompidou in Paris. Work on all scales and media will be fea­tured, including painting, sculp­ture, drawing, print and artist books, incor­po­rating orig­inal and lim­ited edi­tions of art­works on view for the first time.

Conceived for the two venues, Mathaf and QM Gallery Al Riwaq, the ret­ro­spec­tive is organ­ised in two parts tracing the tra­jec­tory of the artist’s prac­tice. One tra­jec­tory charts the emer­gence of a rela­tion­ship between image and text in Azzawi’s work, and its evo­lu­tion as a solu­tion to an artistic problem of rep­re­sen­ta­tion; the other tra­jec­tory fol­lows the artist’s engage­ment with the key moments in the polit­ical his­tory of Iraq and the Arab world. Both routes depart from an encounter with the poet Muzaffar al-Nawwab in 1968.

Dia Al-Azzawi (born Baghdad, 1939, lives and works in London) started his career as an artist in 1964, after grad­u­ating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and com­pleting a degree in archae­ology from Baghdad University in 1962.

In 1969, Al-Azzawi (with Rafa Nasiri, Mohammad Muhriddin, Ismail Fattah, Hachem al-Samarchi and Saleh al Jumaie) formed the New Vision group (Jama’at al-Ru’ya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ide­o­log­i­cally and cul­tur­ally as opposed to stylis­ti­cally. Through his involve­ment with the New Vision group Al-Azzawi found inspi­ra­tion in con­tem­po­rary sub­jects and issues, par­tic­u­larly the plight of the Palestinians. He was also briefly a member of Shakir Hassan Al Said’s One Dimension group (Jama’at al-Bu’d al-Wahid).

From 1968 to 1976, Al-Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he served as art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre, from 1977 to 1980. Al-Azzawi’s move to London led him to redis­cover artist books (dafatir), an art form that he has encour­aged other artists from Iraq and the region to explore.

His work is held in inter­na­tional pri­vate and public col­lec­tions including the Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad, Damascus and Tunis; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia; Una Foundation, Casablanca; Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi; Development Fund, Kuwait; Jeddah International Airport; British Museum, Tate Modern, and Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Institut du Monde Arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Colas Foundation, Paris; Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy; Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona; and Library of Congress and the World Bank, Washington, DC.

Dia Al-Azzawi has had a long asso­ci­a­tion with Qatar Museums, fea­turing in the opening exhi­bi­tion of Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Al Riwaq in 2010. His work is included in the ongoing Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World, a pioneering online pro­ject devel­oped by Qatar Museums, Qatar Foundation and Mathaf, to com­pre­hen­sively doc­u­ment the work of Arab artists of the 20th and 21st cen­tury.

Qatar Museums will pub­lish an author­i­ta­tive book on the artist, doc­u­menting the full spec­trum of his work and career. The mono­graph will include essays by leading experts in the field: Catherine David, in her role of Exhibition Curator; Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History and Director of Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative at the University of North Texas; May Muzzafar, poet and writer on the sub­ject of Iraqi art since the early 1970s and Zainab Bahrani, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology in the Department of Art History at Columbia University.

Copyright © Galerie Claude Lemand 2012.

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