Dia Al-Azzawi. A Retrospective from 1963 until Tomorrow.
Al-Azzawi, Dia / Catherine David (Curator).
Book ID: 16466
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A retrospective of the Iraqi Artist Dia Al-Azzawi, who is internationally recognised as one of the prominent figures of modern and contemporary art in the Arab world. The work was published to commemorate an Exhibition entitled: I am the cry, who will give voice to me?, which was held at Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art and Museums Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha, from 16 October 2016 – 16 April 2017. The exhibition, showcased over 546 works across fifty years and a range of media, aiming at mapping an itinerary of modernism and profiling the practice of the Iraqi artist.
Dia Azzawi, born 1939 in Baghdad, Iraq. He started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962. His studies of ancient civilisations and Iraqi heritage had a profound impact on his art, and a key objective in the early formation of his artistic style was to link the visual culture of the past to the present.
In 1969, Azzawi formed the New Vision Group (al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. The group’s manifesto, Towards a New Vision, highlighted an association between art and revolution, and sought to transcend the notion of a ‘local style’-coined by the Baghdad Modern Art Group-by broadening the parameters of local culture to include the entire Arab world. The group held their final exhibition in 1972.
Through his involvement with the New Vision Group Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of Palestinians. His shift from themes of antiquity and legend to that of pain, death, and conflict altered his stylistic approach to painting significantly. These works lacked the vivid colour and ornamentation of earlier images and, instead, utilized bold outlines, attention to detail, and improvisational techniques.