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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.