Real Bad Dream ArtBoothuae
A Real Bad Dream, Duo Show at ArtBoothuae
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Until 27 May 2024, ArtBoothuae Gallery is displaying the works of Palestinian-Syrian-Dutch artist Oussama Diab and Palestinian artist Wadeei Khaled. The show titled A Real Bad Dream invites visitors to explore the realm of individual and collective memories reflected in the artists’ creations, merging surrealism with themes of displacement, resilience, and the enduring spirit of homeland.

Diab’s art is a testament to his indomitable spirit and the resilience of people. Blending surrealism with the harsh realities of life, his paintings portray a surreal scene about life’s challenges and beauty. At one point, his art style evolved from the clarity of human figures to the abstraction of human existence. His earlier works symbolised his belief in the triumph of humanity. However, as global events grew more tumultuous, Diab’s art began to reflect more complex reality. His recent abstract artworks capture the essence of human beings in nature and life striving to move forward amidst chaos.

Oussama Diab and Wadeei Khaled, A Real Bad Dream (installation view). ArtBoothuae Gallery, Abu Dhabi, 2024.

Khaled’s art pieces pay tribute to the resilience of those who stay connected to their roots despite adversity. Taking cues from the resilient landscapes of Palestine as well as the writings of Ghassan Kanafani and other Arab authors, the artist creates works which contemplate belonging, identity, and the invincible spirit to endure. His connection to his homeland is a central theme in his art, which offers a poignant exploration of the persistence and resilience of the human spirit.

A Real Bad Dream is a dialogue not only between the two artists and their audience but also between the dreams of individuals and the stark realities of conflict zones. It aims to forge connections, evoke empathy, and foster a deeper understanding of the human condition through art.

About the artists

Oussama Diab (b. 1977, Damascus, Syria) resides in the Netherlands, where he had to flee in 2015. He obtained his BFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 2002.

Oussama Diab, A Surreal Dream, 2024
Oussama Diab, A Surreal Dream, 2024. Mixed Media On Canvas. 152 × 204 cm

In his paintings and drawings, Diab explores the contradictions and obstacles of political conflict, globalisation, and exile. To do so, he employs playful symbolism, historical citations, references to pop culture, iconic imagery, and narrative structures. With each new series of works, the artist turns to a different painting style, which reflects the impermanent nature of art. Examining the human condition in his work, Diab deftly combines different art schools, from figurative cubism to abstraction.

Diab has displayed his artworks in many local and international exhibitions, which include Headrumour (solo) (De Kreek, Oosterbeek, Netherlands, 2023); Art of Inclusion (Residency American Embassy, The Hague, Netherlands, 2021); Black and White… Memories (solo) (Pedrami Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium, 2016); Syria Off Frame (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, Italy, 2015); Contemporary Arabia (Ayyam Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2014); Art Dubai 2012; and others. The artist has received several awards, including the Jury Prize in the 3rd Young Artist’s Exhibition (Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, 2002) and two grants from Mondriaan Fonds (Netherlands).

Wadeei Khaled (b. 1986, Al-Arroub Refugee Camp), who lives and works in Ramallah, graduated from Al-Quds University with a BFA.

Wadeei Khaled, Untitled, 2023
Wadeei Khaled, Untitled, 2023. Oil on Canvas. 254 × 213.4 cm

Most of his works are oil and watercolour paintings — landscapes and symbolic depictions of nature — characterised by meticulous attention to detail and a bright colour palette. Khalid’s artistic discourse revolves around such themes as homeland, identity, belonging, and resilience. Inspired by his profound connection to the land, cultural heritage, and personal experiences, the artist’s practice traverses the confines of his narrative and reflects on broader political and cultural contexts.

Khalid’s art contributions have been recognized locally and internationally. He participated in multiple group exhibitions, and his works have been acquired by esteemed art collectors and institutions alike.

To get more information about A Real Bad Dream, please visit the official website of the ArtBoothuae Gallery.

You might also be interested in attending Charts for a Resurrection by Dima Srouji.