1. Solo exhibition of new works by Syrian artist Khaled Takreti at Ayyam Gallery DIFC - Dubai

    From the 5 to the 29 November, Ayyam Gallery DIFC will present, ‘Silence’ a solo exhibition of Syrian artist Khaled Takreti. Departing from his usual heavily saturated candy coloured canvases, a subdued palette of sepia and grey tones and stark backgrounds render this body of work more engaging as the viewer is able to quietly impose onto the world of these silent characters. In many of the portraits there is an almost palpable loneliness, yet there is no sense of weakness in Takreti’s characters. They stare directly at the viewer, almost challenging him to ponder over the internal thoughts lying behind their detached facades.

    Takreti states that his desire with this series is to present a less romantic, more contemporary view of external life. His paintings are a mirror of himself, and at present, with the turmoils facing his homeland of Syria, they illustrate the pain he experiences during this difficult period, a time which has drained the colour and narrative from his works.

    Working with unprimed canvas bearing its natural texture and ecru surface, he renders his subjects in grey tonalities like a captured photograph. His figures stand silent and sparse, leaving the viewer to colour them with their individual interpretations.

    Though the artist prefers not to provide his own interpretations for each piece, he does acknowledge the irony present in many of these works. Takreti’s paintings are decidedly truthful and as a result, the images and emotions conveyed transfer directly from his heart to the heart of others.

    Born in Beirut in 1964, Syrian artist Khaled Takreti studied Architecture and Design in Damascus and worked with the General Directorate of Antiquity and Museums in Syria prior to launching his career as a contemporary painter. Developing a passion for drawing at an early age, he later harnessed his talent through years of formal training. In 1995, he moved to New York City where he expanded his knowledge of art and absorbed a variety of international trends. Upon relocating to Paris in 2006, Takreti continued learning of past and contemporary trends in art and began painting in a full-time capacity. Drawing from his past, Khaled Takreti creates beautifully stylized portraits and scenes he regards as his visual diary. Moments and people from his memory return to life on vivid canvases. Though the compositions are based in his personal experiences, thematically each is universal and resonates with all audiences.

    His paintings have been displayed in solo and collective exhibitions throughout the Middle East, Europe and the US, and in international expositions such as the Alexandria Biennale, Art Paris, Art Hong Kong and Art Dubai. Takreti’s works are housed in the permanent collections of such prominent Middle Eastern institutions as the Syrian National Museum and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.

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  2. Solo exhibition of new works by Lebanese artist Walid El Masri at Ayyam Gallery DIFC - Dubai

    The paintings of Lebanese artist Walid El-Masri relentlessly examine a single material subject matter – a chair – treating it as a point of departure for greater investigations into the fundamental components of painting and perception, and as a vehicle for experiments in palette and composition. With a vanishing point that lies beyond the canvas’s edge, El-Masri’s chairs are depicted from obscure angles and rendered with rough contours, whilst the lower portions of his compositions are void. For the artist, this emptiness is a space in which one can forget everything.

    Toying with depth and space, El-Masri’s work seeks to reconfigure compositional properties in order to explore the myriad variations that result from a repeated action. These variations in portrayal infuse the inanimate chair with a hypnotic power.

    Born in 1979 in Syria, Walid El-Masri lives and works in Paris. A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, his solo exhibitions include: Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2012); Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2009); Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2008).

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  3. Solo exhibition of new works by Syrian artist Tammam Azzam at Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz - Dubai

    Displaced Syrians feel a deep connection and sadness with the events unfolding in their country. As each day brings word of another friend or family member perishing, they feel silenced and immobile, unable to take any action, to cause any formidable change or provide assistance. 'Syria', Tammam Azzam’s solo exhibition of new digital and installation art on show from 10 November until the 31 December at Ayyam Art Center, is his way of reaching out, of sounding his pain and protest and shedding light on the matter. Exhibited exactly one year from the start of the series and curated by acclaimed Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul, these works extend a political commentary on the upheavals in their homeland that have led to the Syrian Uprising and the subsequent destruction and violence.

    Utilizing the entirety of the exhibition space in the vast Ayyam Art Center, this expansive show will display a separate series in each room. In the main hall, Azzam’s digital artworks will feature prominently. Highly coveted for their originality and poignancy, each work coincides with a particular event of the Uprising, depicting a variety of fractured and wounded maps of Syria, fallen chess pawns and other symbols reconfigured in clever, yet powerful reflections of the turmoil facing his countrymen.

    Digital artworks representing a location the Syrian Uprising has affected will be exhibited in the second room. Each bearing ‘In the revolution’ followed by the name of the area that witnessed the revolution, these retro, over-saturated works present an overall sentiment of longing, echoing to a distant past which no longer exists amidst the present turmoil.

    Azzam’s 'Syrian Museum' series incorporates iconic subjects from the greatest European masters such as da Vinci, Matisse, Goya and Picasso, paralleling the greatest achievements of humanity with the destruction it is also capable of inflicting.

    Born in the Syrian capital in 1980, Tammam Azzam graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus with a concentration in Oil Painting and subsequently obtained a Fine Arts Certificate in 2001 from Darat al Funun’s Al Kharif Academy, an esteemed artist workshop series led by Syrian master, Marwan Kassab Bashi. Since joining the Shabab Ayyam Young Artists Programme in 2008, he has been featured in several significant events including the group show, 'Stories from the Levant', Scope Art Fair, Basel, in 2009, and Art Miami 2010, and has held solo exhibitions at Ayyam Gallery, Damascus in 2010 and Dubai in 2011.

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  4. Interview with Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul and Ayyam Gallery managing partner Hisham Samawi during the "Repetitive Dreams" exhibition at Ayyam Gallery London.

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