Edge of Arabia presents a special event to launch Repetitive Dreams, the first UK solo exhibition by Safwan Dahoul
Edge of Arabia is delighted to invite the public to a special event and accompanying exhibition of largescale works by Safwan Dahoul, one of the most prominent Arab painters working today. The event will take place on the evening of 8th May and includes a discussion between the artist and his long time friend and collaborator, Khaled Samawi (founder of Ayyam Gallery), a book signing of his 2009 monograph and a special preview of monumentally-sized paintings and prints from his first UK solo exhibition: Repetitive Dreams (opening on 9th May at Ayyam Gallery London on Bond Street).
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 since starting to paint 25 years ago. Essential to the artist’s work is the universality of dreaming, and the dream’s potential for multiple interpretations. For Dahoul, every event is a repetition of another past moment. Examining a diverse range of subjects, his canvases feature images that recur and evolve while remaining essentially unchanged. This body of work is the first series of paintings the artist has created since leaving Damascus for Dubai last year.
Working in a predominantly monochromatic palette, the artist uses black and grey to suggest deep hollows of space. Echoing the absence of vibrant colours, these muted tones also offer a reflection of Dahoul’s personal life when living in his native Syria.
These paintings often contain a cinematic quality, and the nature and history of dream sequences in cinema are an influence on 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 artist has also collaborated with Ayyam Gallery and EOA.Projects to produce eight new limited edition prints, which will be on sale throughout the exhibition.
Born in 1961 in Hama, Syria, Safwan Dahoul lives and works in Dubai. Dahoul attended the Suheil Al Ahdab Center of Plastic Arts and the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. In 1987 he received a scholarship to study abroad from the Ministry of Higher Education and relocated to Belgium, achieving his Doctorate from the Higher Institute of Plastic Arts in Mons in1997. His work is held in numerous private and public collections including the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; The Samawi Collection, Dubai; The Farjam Collection, Dubai; and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Kuwait.
Previous solo exhibitions include: Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2011); Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2011); and Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2008). Group exhibitions include: Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi (2013); Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2012); Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2011); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2009); and Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2006).
Edge of Arabia
Edge of Arabia is an independent, not-for-profit arts initiative developing the appreciation of contemporary Arab art and culture with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. As a social enterprise Edge of Arabia is committed to reaching local and international audiences and improving understanding through free exhibitions, through publications, and through an education programme incorporating talks & seminars, artist residencies and vocational training. Following its launch in London in 2008, this grassroots initiative has travelled to Riyadh, Berlin, Istanbul, Dubai, Jeddah, twice to the Venice Biennale and most recently to London’s Brick Lane with #COMETOGETHER. Edge of Arabia’s new space in Battersea is supported by our Founding Partner Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives as part of their mission to inspire a positive and timely discussion about contemporary Arab culture.
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