Diary Tammam Azzam
Diary by Tammam Azzam
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Ayyam Gallery in Dubai is pleased to host Diary, a solo exhibition by prominent Syrian artist Tammam Azzam, whose practice is informed by the ongoing conflict in his home country. One can look at Azzam’s latest works (paintings and paper collages) that evoke the emptiness left behind after mass destruction. Playing with perspective, the art pieces on view depict abstract cities lying in ruins that are framed within strong horizons. The show will end on the 20th of February, 2024.

Tammam Azzam, Diary (exhibition view). Ayyam Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of the gallery.

Azzam is well-known for exploring the destruction and reconstruction of an image or space. To produce his collages, he uses papers of various colours and with different densities and textures; they are layered, glued, and constituted in detail. Each collage comprises various elements: the geography of one place, a building from another, and the light from somewhere else. “I try to compose colour or light from a particular place, from memory. It could be from Syria or the Middle East […],” Azzam explains.

The cityscapes his works portray, where architecture is surrounded by conventional or unconventional skies, feel real and surreal at the same time. They speak about what happened to Syria and what is happening now in Palestine and other countries across the region. These collages also symbolise the delicate balance between fragility and creation, between a weathered façade and fluid abstractions of nature.  

Tammam Azzam, Diary (exhibition view). Ayyam Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of the gallery.

About the artist

Tammam Azzam (b. 1980, Damascus, Syria) is an artist and graphic designer who obtained his BA degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus in 2001, specialising in oil painting. Apart from painting and paper collages, his practice involves graphic design, sculptures, installations, and digital art. In 2011, due to the political situation in his homeland, Azzam had to flee to Dubai and in 2016, he moved to Berlin (Germany), where he still lives and works.

After having been forced to leave Syria, Azzam began to focus on the tragedy of the ruined cities that used to be home to many people. In 2013, he created a series of digital works titled The Syrian Museum, overlaying photos of destroyed structures with famous European paintings, such as, for example, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, and The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh. Through this series of works, the artist examines our vision of current affairs and questions the role of art. Another collection of artworks dedicated to devastated Syria is Azzam’s Storeys series, which comprises large-scale paintings of its war-ravaged cities.

Tammam Azzam, Diary (exhibition view). Ayyam Gallery, Dubai. Courtesy of the gallery.

The artist has displayed his creations in multiple solo and group shows and art events, including Fragments (a duo exhibition with Jonas Englert) (Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin, 2022); Dämmerung und Morgenlicht, Tammam Azzam (Rudolf Stolz Museum, Tyrol, Italy, 2020); Forgotten Cities (Haines Gallery, San Francisco, USA, 2019); Art Dubai with Galerie Kornfeld (Berlin, 2019); Art Dubai (a solo presentation with Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, 2018); On Target, European Capital of Culture-Pafos 2017 (Pafos, Cyprus, 2017); Homeland – Identity in Transition (Künstlerverein Walkmühle, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2016); Dismaland (curated by Banksy) (Weston-super-Mare, UK, 2015); FotoFest Biennial (Houston, USA, 2014); and many others. 

Tammam Azzam, Untitled, 2021. Mixed media on canvas. 170 x 420 cm

In 2017, Azzam was nominated for the European Young Leaders (EYL40) programme (20 young leaders representing the Middle East and North Africa). In 2016, he was granted an artist fellowship at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst. The list of residencies which Azzam has undertaken includes the one at the Vancouver Biennale (Quest University, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, 2015) and the residency (plus workshop) with Marwan Kassab Bashi at Darat al Funun (Amman, Jordan, 2003 and 2001), among others.

To get more information about Diary, please visit the show’s official web page.

You might also be interested in attending Fragile Construct by Walid Siti.

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