London Exhibitions: Safwan Dahoul at Ayyam Gallery

London Exhibitions: Safwan Dahoul at Ayyam Gallery

Ayyam Gallery London is delighted to announce Syrian painter, Safwan Dahoul’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom, Repetitive Dreams.

London Exhibitions Safwan Dahoul at Ayyam Gallery

Safwan Dahoul, ‘Dream 63’, 180 X 200 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2013

Firmly established as one of the most prominent Arab artists working today, he will present the first series of paintings he has created since leaving Damascus for Dubai last year. This coincides with an exhibition of large-scale works by Dahoul at Edge of Arabia London from 8 May – 15 June 2013.
The exhibition title, Repetitive Dreams, refers not only to the subject of Dahoul’s works, but to the enduring influence that dreams have had in his career. He first started titling his paintings Hulum, or Dream, 25 years ago and sees the process of consistently re-interpreting the theme as an artistic challenge which inspires creativity. Essential to the artist’s work is the universality of dreaming, and the dream’s potential for multiple interpretations: in responding to Dahoul’s dreams as they would theirs, the viewer is able to form their own, unique understanding of the artist’s meaning.
For Dahoul, every event that happens in our life time is a repetition of another past moment. Examining a diverse range of subjects, from love to war, his canvases feature images that recur and evolve while remaining essentially unchanged. Working in a predominantly monochromatic palette, the artist uses black and grey to suggest deep hollows of space. These muted tones also offer a reflection of his personal life, echoing the absence of vibrant colours which Dahoul perceived when living in his native Syria.
His paintings often contain a cinematic quality, and the nature and history of dream sequences in cinema are of interest to the artist.  Dahoul has recently expanded his practice to experiment with the medium of film, directly engaging with notions of evolution, time and repetition through introducing a durational element.
The exhibition of Dahoul’s monumentally-sized paintings at Edge of Arabia’s London space marks a collaboration between the not-for-profit art initiative and Ayyam Gallery. In addition to the work on show, there will be a book signing of Ayyam Gallery’s 2009 monograph on Dahoul’s work and a talk at the opening event on 8 May. The artist has also produced eight new limited edition prints, which will be on sale throughout the evening.
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Founded by collectors and cousins Khaled and Hisham Samawi in Damascus in 2006, Ayyam Gallery sought to nurture Syria’s burgeoning and dynamic contemporary art scene through landmark non-profit initiatives such as the Shabab Ayyam Project, an incubator for emerging artists. Expansion into Beirut and Dubai enabled Ayyam Gallery to broaden its scope from the promotion of work by Syrian artists to those from the wider Middle East region. In doing so, Ayyam Gallery has established itself as one of the foremost exponents of Middle Eastern contemporary art to the international community. Today, Ayyam Gallery is recognised as a leading cultural voice in the region, representing a roster of Arab and Iranian artists with an international profile and museum presence, such as Nadim Karam, Safwan Dahoul, Samia Halaby, Sadik Alfraji, Afshin Pirhashemi and Khaled Takreti. A number of non-commercial exhibitions, as well as the launch of Ayyam Publishing, Ayyam Editions, and The Young Collectors Auction, have further succeeded in showcasing the work of Middle Eastern artists with the aim of educating a wider audience about the art of this significant region. Ayyam Gallery Damascus currently functions as a studio and creative haven for artists who remain in the war-torn city. In January 2013, Ayyam Gallery launched a new space in London, with a second to open in Jeddah in late-February.

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