Ayyam Gallery is delighted to announce the participation of its artist, Ammar Abd Rabbo in the group show the sea is my land. Artists from the Mediterranean at the MAXXI (the National Museum of the Arts of the 21st century) in Rome from 4 July – 29 September 2013.
Organised by BNL BNP Paribas Group, the exhibition focuses on the Mediterranean, envisaged not only as a geographical area but a crossroads connecting different civilisations. The project is curated by Francesco Bonami and Emanuela Mazzonis and brings together photography and video art by 22 artists from 22 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The exhibition aims to use the universal language of images to highlight the incessant metamorphosis of the Mediterranean, an area of cultural dialogue where the impartiality of art has the power to overcome social barriers, religious pluralism and ethnic dispersion, and foster peaceful communication among all those concerned.
Considered one of the Arab world’s most important photojournalists, Syrian artist Ammar Abd Rabbo will show eight photographs inspired by the exhibition’s theme. This selection includes photographs that were taken in Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, and Mecca. Speaking about his participation, Abd Rabbo says: “I was born in Syria and grew up in Libya, followed by periods living in Lebanon and then France, so I really feel like I am a ‘citizen’ of the Mediterranean region. Having my work exhibited as part of this show in particular, and at a renowned institution like the MAXXI, is an honour”.
Over the course of his career, Abd Rabbo has amassed a portfolio documenting some of the most significant cultural and political events of the last 20 years and his work has featured in some of today’s leading publications, from Time Magazine to Der Spiegel. Often capturing his subjects in rarely-seen moments of rest or reflection, his works have been praised for their arresting intimacy and humanity.
As a photojournalist, he has covered major conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, and his homeland Syria. He also captured images of environmental catastrophes such as the flooding which afflicted New Orleans following 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. In addition to his work being exhibited, Abd Rabbo was asked to choose an inspiring text for the official exhibition catalogue; Abd Rabbo selected poems by the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998), whose work combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism.
An international jury comprising Giovanna Bertazzoni (Head of the London Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s), Daniel Birnbaum (Museum Director, Moderna Meseet Stockholm), Cristiana Collu, Director of MART (the Contemporary Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto) and Gregor Muir (Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London), will review the works on show by participating artists – around 150 pieces in total – assessing their originality and artistic merit. The winning work will be purchased by BNL BNP Paribas Group, becoming part of its permanent collection and artistic heritage. The Bank’s collection currently boasts around 5,000 works that include classical and modern masterpieces as well as works by talented young contemporary artists.
Born in Damascus in 1966, Ammar Abd Rabbo lived in Libya and Lebanon, before moving to France in 1978. Solo exhibitions have include Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2012); Ayyam Gallery Dubai (2012); and a retrospective at Centre Culturel Francais de Damas (2011).
About Ayyam Gallery
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 nonprofit 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 Abdulnasser Gharem, Khaled Jarrar, 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 initiatives like 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 early 2013, Ayyam Gallery launched new spaces in London and Jeddah.
Exhibition Facts Exhibition Title: the sea is my land. Artists from the Mediterranean
Exhibition Dates: 4 July – 29 September 2013
Location: Roma, MAXXI – Spazio D