Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dia Al Azzawi

Artist: Dia Al Azzawi
Exhibition Title: Part of the 6th Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Festival
Exhibition Date: 21-3-2009

Born and raised in Iraq, Azzawi has lived in London since 1976, where he has successfully created his own identity in the discerning circles of the mainstream art world, despite choosing to express himself in a style that is essentially Arab. Azzawi graduated with a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. While training to be an archaeologist, he realized that he actually wanted to spend the rest of his life painting. Azzawi went back to university to earn another degree in Fine Arts in 1964.Considered as one of the finest colourists among contemporary Iraqi artists, Azzawi's paintings echo the resplendent colours of his homeland. Unconcerned with the western penchant for sober pastels, the London-based Iraqi artist continues to make daring use of sizzling reds and bold purples in his paintings - rich colours that are, as per his own admission, very Arab, like him. "I may be British on paper, but in reality I'm an Arab. The colours I use are also Arab”, admits the artist candidly. Over the decades, Azzawi has built up an international reputation as a brilliant artist and his work has been exhibited extensively in Europe, the Middle East, the USA and India. His paintings occupy pride of place in prestigious places such as the British Museum in London, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Museums of Modem Art in Damascus, Amman and Tunisia and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. A few years ago, his work received a distinct seal of approval from none other than the top French fashion designer Pierre Cardin, who saw Azzawi's work at an exhibition in Paris, and bought two of his paintings, which he later displayed as centerpieces in his own fashion show. And to think that Azzawi almost became an archaeologist, instead of an artist! A full-time artist, Azzawi has been residing in London for more than 25 years. The long exile has certainly not diluted his passion for his homeland, but even though he remains tied to his soil and its culture, he has also grown new roots to help him find his feet and stand tall among the contemporary artists living abroad.


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Ghaf Art Gallery
Tel: +9712-6655332
Fax: +9712-6655292
P.O.Box: 42366
Abu Dhabi, UAE