MASSACRES AND JOY OF LIFE.
AZZAWI, The Arab Master of Prints.
The 17 portfolios of original prints realized by Dia Al-Azzawi between 1978 and 2007 illustrate well the two constant features of the work of the great Iraqi artist based in London: on the one hand, Picasso’s influence on his art inspired by the Massacres and the violent events that have been traumatizing the Arab World for decades and on the other hand, Matisse’s influence on the joyful and colourful works that express his call for the Joy of Life in Nature and in the Oriental Gardens.
Born in Baghdad in 1939, Dia Al-Azzawi studied archaeology and art at the University and later at the Fine Arts Institute of Baghdad. He settled down in London in 1976. He is a painter, sculptor, book artist and he still promoting the young Iraqi creations. Many solo exhibitions have been organised in galleries, international fairs, museums and art centres. His works feature in both public and private collections across the globe. The Institut du Monde arabe held a retrospective exhibition for him in 2001 and the Qatar Museums dedicated a double retrospective exhibition in 2016-2017.
Having a passion for graphic arts and publishing, he produced many original prints, portfolios and artist’s books. He played a pivotal role for the creation and diffusion of modern Arab graphic arts in Europe and in the Arab world. His oeuvre constantly built autonomous visual worlds that were in parallel to the poets’, mastering with an equal skill both ancient and recent Western techniques of etching, lithography, silkscreen and digital prints.
Since a quarter of a century, the Claude Lemand gallery regularly exhibited in Paris Dia Al-Azzawi’s works, in which the artist bears witness to his ‘positive modernity’ and to his determination that art should contribute to the world’s happiness and to the emergence of a new Arab civilisation that would be in harmony with itself and with other civilisations. « My work is part of the movement of Arab Art’s renaissance, but it is universal in its approach and it is closely related to history and to the values of contemporary culture».
Translated from French by Valérie Didier Hess.
PORTFOLIOS OF ORIGINAL PRINTS:
1978. Al-Mu’allaqat. - Seven Golden Odes. Eight silkscreens, 100 x 70 cm.
1979. The Body’s Anthem. Poems illustrated for Tall al-Zaatar. Sixteen silkscreens, 65 x 65 cm.
1982. Homage to Baghdad. Ten silkscreens, 55 x 50 cm.
1983. We are not seen but Corpses. The Sabra and Shatila Massacres. Eight etchings and one lithograph, 100 x 75 cm.
1986. One Thousand and one Night. Twenty seven prints (lithographs and etchings), 65 x 50 cm.
1989. Homage to Jawad Salim. Eight etchings coloured by the artist, 50 x 52 cm.
1989. Al-Jawahiri Verses. Ten lithographs, 65 x 50 cm.
1990.. Adonis. Five lithographs, 50 x 65 cm.
1991. Beirut Suite. Ten lithographs, 50 x 65 cm.
1991. The Crane. Ten lithographs, 50 x 65 cm.
1991. Nuzhat Zaman. Nine lithographs, 50 x 65 cm.
1994. The will of Life. Al-Chabbi - Irâdat al-Hayât. Six lithographs, 56 x 38 cm.
1994. Cities of Salt. - Mudun al-Milh. Six lithographs, 56 x 38 cm.
2004. Majorelle Gardens. Marrakech. Three silkscreens, 63 x 50 cm.
2005. Portrait of The-Non-Existent-Bird. Eight digital prints, 60 x 42 cm.
2006. Al-Mutanabbi Prints. Four digital prints, 50 x 200 cm.
2007. Al-Mutanabbi Portfolio. Eight digital prints, 60 x 42 cm.