Posted on October 15, 2016

Qatar Museums (QM) today opens a major exhibition by internationally acclaimed Iraqi artist Dia al-Azzawi, titled ‘I am the cry, who will give voice to me? * Dia al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (from 1963 until tomorrow)’.

Taking place simultaneously at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and the QM Gallery Al Riwaq for the first time, the exhibition will cover 9,000 sq. metres and include over 500 works. It will open on 16th October 2016 at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and 17th October 2016 at QM Gallery Al Riwaq, and run until 16th April 2017.

Presented by Qatar Museums under the leadership of its Chairperson, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, ‘I am the cry, who will give voice to me?  * Dia al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (from 1963 until tomorrow),’ is unprecedented in its scale and content, reflecting the long and distinguished career of Dia al-Azzawi. Curated by Catherine David, Deputy Director at Centre Pompidou in Paris, the show examines the artist’s career, starting as an art student in Iraq in the 1960’s. Works spanning fifty years across a range of media will be featured, including painting, sculpture, drawing, print and artist books, incorporating original and limited editions of artworks on view for the very first time.

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Abdellah Karroum, Director at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, said: “With Dia al-Azzawi’s retrospective, Mathaf is continuing the museum’s mission of revisiting art histories and narratives that redefine the region. The artist is also a witness of his time and in this case, 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. The curatorial reading and concept of the exhibition by Catherine David is a great contribution to the development of art histories and curatorial dialogues globally. 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.”

Spanning two venues across Doha, the retrospective aims to map an itinerary of modernism and profiles the practice of the Iraqi artist. The retrospective is organised into two parts, with each one tracing a trajectory of the artist’s practice. One route charts the emergence of a relationship between image and text in al-Azzawi’s work, and its evolution as a solution to an artistic problem of representation. The other route follows the artist’s engagement with the key moments in the political history of Iraq and the Arab world, particularly Palestine. Both routes derive from an encounter with the poet Muzaffar Al-Nawwab in 1968.

As part of the exhibition, collectors’ items inspired by Dia al-Azzawi’s collection will be on sale in QM retail outlets across Qatar. These include a selection of silk scarves and a special limited edition collector’s piece, which is a replica of ‘Handala’, a cartoon character of a ten-year-old refugee who became famous across the Arab world as an icon of opposition. The bronze sculpture was made by Dia al-Azzawi in 2011 in homage to his friend, the Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali.

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Dia al-Azzawi (born Baghdad, 1939, lives and works in London) started his career as an artist in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. Al-Azzawi has had a long association with Qatar Museums, with his works featuring in the opening exhibition of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Gallery Al Riwaq in 2010. His work is also included in the ongoing Mathaf Encyclopaedia of Modern Art and the Arab World, a pioneering online project developed by Qatar Museums, Qatar Foundation and Mathaf, to comprehensively document the work of Arab artists of the 20th and 21st century.

Most recently, Dia al-Azzawi has created a number of iconic public artworks that will be placed in prominent locations across Doha for the local community and visitors to enjoy. In June, a carousel designed by al-Azzawi entitled Enchanted East, opened in the Museum of Islamic Art Park. In November, QM will unveil two iconic sculptures at Hamad International Airport by the artist. The works, called Flying Man, join the growing and outstanding collection of paintings and installations by local and international artists at the airport.

Saleh Al Hamad Al Mana Co. is the official sponsor of the Dia al-Azzawi exhibition.

For more information on the exhibition and upcoming activities, please visit: http://www.qm.org.qa/en

Exhibition Information:

I am the cry, who will give voice to me? *
Dia al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (from 1963 until tomorrow)
16 October 2016 – 16 April 2017
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and QM Gallery Al Riwaq
Free entry

Opening hours

QM Gallery Al Riwaq

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Sunday            10:30 – 17:30

Monday           10:30 – 17:30

Tuesday           Closed

Wednesday     10:30 – 17:30

Thursday         12:00 – 20:00

Friday              14:00 – 20:00

Saturday          12:00 – 20:00

Sunday            11:00 – 18:00
Monday           Closed
Tuesday          11:00 – 18:00
Wednesday     11:00 – 18:00
Thursday         11:00 – 18:00
Friday              15:00 – 20:00
Saturday          11:00 – 18:00

 

Dia al-Azzawi biography

Dia al-Azzawi (born Baghdad, 1939, lives and works in London) started his career as an artist in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. In 1969, al-Azzawi (with Rafa Nasiri, Mohammad Muhriddin, Ismail Fattah, Hachem al-Samarchi and Saleh al Jumaie) formed the New Vision group

(al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. Through his involvement with the New Vision group al-Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of the Palestinians. He was also briefly a member of Shakir Hassan Al Said’s One Dimension group (Jama’t al-Bu’d al-Wahid). From 1968 to 1976, al-Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he served as art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre, from 1977 to 1980. Al-Azzawi’s move to London led him to rediscover artist’s books (dafatir), an art form that he has encouraged other artists from Iraq and the region to explore.

His work is held in international private and public collections including the Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad, Damascus and Tunis; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia; Una Foundation, Casablanca; Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi; Development Fund, Kuwait; Jeddah International Airport; British Museum, Tate Modern, and Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Institut du Monde Arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Colas Foundation, Paris; Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy; Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona; and Library of Congress and the World Bank, Washington, DC.

* Title of a poem by Fadhil Azzawi

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