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December 2013

 


AMAR DAWOD: AL-HALLAJ AND ‘THE TAWASIN’

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Posted November 30, 2013 by artBahrain in Openings

MEEM GALLERY EXHIBITS THE WORK OF AMAR DAWOD IN HIS FIRST SOLO SHOW IN THE UAE

MEEM GALLERY 
Dubai, UAE
3 December 2013 – 20 January 2014

Amar Dawod -1

Meem Gallery is pleased to announce Amar Dawod’s first solo exhibition in Dubai, displaying twenty-six mixed-media works by the artist. The exhibition is dedicated to the mystical writings of Mansur al-Hallaj, the famous Sufi thinker, writer and teacher who was executed in 922 for heresy. Drawing specifically on al-Hallaj’s celebrated Kitāb al-Tawāsīn(The Tawasin) as a point of departure for this series, Dawod represents his understanding of the eleven verses of The Tawasin in vivid and muted colours. His compositions demonstrate the careful interaction between line, abstract form, attention to detail and collage in his rendering of figures, angels, and patterned patchwork backgrounds. The exhibition’s catalogue will feature essays by the artist, Stephen Hirtenstein, Louai Hamza Abbas, and Suhail Sami Nader, as well as a full English translation of The Tawasin.

Dawod has drawn influence from the works of al-Hallaj since his early years in Baghdad, during the mid-1970s. At the Institute of Fine Arts, where the artist received his diploma in 1979, Dawod attended the lectures of the late artist Shakir Hassan Al Said, whose theoretical ideas on art were strongly derived from Sufi thought (most notably his theory of the One Dimension). For Dawod, the ideas of al-Hallaj resonate ‘because of the inherent desire of painters to traverse the self and overcome or deny it in order to completely ascend to where God declares His presence through the signs that have influenced many of the Sufis’ minds, including al-Hallaj.’ Each work in this series is titled after one of the eleven verse titles of The Tawasin, which include:

The Ta-Sin of the Prophetic Lamp
The Ta-Sin of Understanding
The Ta-Sin of Purity
The Ta-Sin of the Circle
The Ta-Sin of the Point
The Ta-Sin of Endless-Time and Equivocation
The Ta-Sin of Divine Will
The Ta-Sin of the Declaration of Unity
The Ta-Sin of the Self-Awarenesses in Tawhid
The Ta-Sin of the Disconnection-from-Forms

Though Dawod’s works are not a literal translation of al-Hallaj’s ideas, he has noted that the Sufi thinker’s often complex style of writing has affected the approach to his art practice:

‘This unique style has inspired my artistic perspective and its approaches, thus enabling me to rebel against the method and conditions of what is called “pure painting”, in addition to enhancing my ability to focus on my individual style and artistic practice. Today’s art should, therefore, open new horizons for interpreting its formal and connotative spheres which are expanding all the time.’

Amar Dawod
Biography

Amar Dawod (b. 1957, Baghdad) studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, receiving a diploma in graphic art in 1979. Many years later he travelled to Łódź, Poland, to study graphic art at the Art Academy, where he received an MA in the subject in 1987. In 1991, he studied animation at the Animations House in Eksjö. Dawod has held solo exhibitions in Sweden, Poland and Jordan including Gallery Linjen, Västervik; Falun City Library, Falun; Art Academy, Łódź; and Karim Gallery, Amman. He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions including Graphics Triennial 11, Kraków, 1986; Relief, Plan, Images, Centre de la Gravure et de L’image imprimee, La Louviere, 1994; A propos de ‘La Resurrection’ de Piero della Francesca, Musee du Petit format, Sansepolcro, Tuscany and Viroinval, 2003; Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas, 2005–2008 ; Contemporary Iraqi Art, Pomegranate Gallery, New York, 2007; and Art in Iraq Today, Meem Gallery, 2011. His awards include Mention Honorifique, Krakow, 1984; Mention Honorifique, Kraków, 1986; and Graphics Triennial Award, Fredrikstad, 1989. He lives in Västervik, Sweden.

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