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All images courtesy of Qatar Museums

A retrospective featuring more than 500 works by acclaimed Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi launches in two Qatar galleries this week.

Paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints will be included in the exhibition, which charts the 50-year career of the modernist artist. Some of the items are being put on public display for the first time.

Titled I am the cry, who will give voice to me? the show launches at the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) today and at the Qatar Museums (QM) Gallery Al Riwaq in MIA park from tomorrow (Oct. 17).

Covering a total space of 9,000 sq meters, it will run for five months until Apr. 17, 2017.

Other Qatar installations

This is the latest in a series of Qatar-based exhibitions al-Azzawi has taken part in over the years.

His carousel installation, Enchanted East, was launched at MIA Park this summer.

Also a functioning children’s ride, it features 40 designed animal “seats” that are inspired by MIA’s permanent collection.

MIA Park Carousel

Qatar Museums

The merry-go-round at the MIA Park

Meanwhile, two sculptures by Al-Azzawi are set to be unveiled at Hamad International Airport (HIA) next month, QM said in a statement.

Called Flying Man, the works are among a large number of art pieces to be installed at the airport.

The most famous of these is Urs Fischer’s seven-meter tall yellow teddy Lamp Bear, which is the favored backdrop for many a traveler’s selfie.

Bearing witness

Al-Azzawi’s latest Qatar show is one of the largest solo exhibitions by an Arab artist ever staged, and has been curated by Catherine David, deputy director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Abdellah Karroum, director at Mathaf, described al-Azzawi as “a witness of his time.”

“His work is in many ways a response to political and social change. al-Azzawi was an integral part of cultural movements since the 1960s and still is today…

“Through exhibitions such as this, we want to make art integral to daily life by bringing it to a wide range of local audiences and visitors to the country,” he said in a statement.

Setting up Dia al-Azzawi exhibition at Mathaf and Al Riwaq

QM/Twitter

Setting up Dia al-Azzawi exhibition at Mathaf and Al Riwaq

There are two themes to the exhibition, both deriving from an encounter with the poet Muzaffar Al-Nawwab in 1968.

The first examines the relationship between image and text in the artist’s work, while the other is about his interpretation of important moments in the history of Iraq and the Arab world.

Souvenir shopping

Visitors will have the opportunity to buy keepsakes inspired by the artist’s work at QM shops across town.

These include silk scarves and replicas of the artist’s 2011 bronze sculpture of Handala – a cartoon character depicting a 10-year-old Palestinian refugee.

After graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, al-Azzawi began his artistic career in 1964. He worked in Iraq until 1976 when he moved to London, where he has lived ever since.

His work has exhibited in some of the world’s leading galleries, including London’s British Museum, the Tate Modern and Victoria and Albert Museum; The Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah in the UAE; the Kinda Foundation in Saudi Arabia; and Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad, Damascus and Tunis.

Dia al-Azzawi exhibition at Mathaf and Al Riwaq

Qatar Museums

Dia al-Azzawi exhibition at Mathaf and Al Riwaq

I am the cry, who will give voice to me? Dia al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (from 1963 until tomorrow) opens today (Oct. 16) at Mathaf and on Oct. 17 at Al Riwaq. Admission is free. It runs until Apr. 17, 2017.

Thoughts?

A new exhibit goes on display tonight at Al Riwaq Doha Exhibition Hall of “Moving Postcards” put together by student filmmakers from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar.

The interactive installation is based on VCUQ’s Moving Postcards Project, which aims to document life in Doha through “a developing collection of video fragments” in partnership with the Doha Film Institute.

Simone Muscolino, the project’s leader and a professor at VCUQ, explains:

[It] is part of my research project aiming to create an innovative video documentation of Doha through fragments. It’s a work in progress and it will grow up in the next weeks/months.

So far it features the work of my students, but it is conceived to host the (good) work of interested videomakers working with similar technique.

A small opening reception will take place this evening (Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012) from 6-8pm. The exhibit will remain open for the duration of the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, which ends on November 24.

Plus check out moving-postcards.com to browse the full collection.

The video over the top is Toe Torch, by Noor Al Thani. Here are a couple more of our favorites:


Lemon Mint by Maryam Al-Meraikhi


Dough boy by Amani Abbara


What’s your favorite?