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In the Footsteps of Cai Lun II – AYYAM Gallery

AYYAM gallery in Dubai is now hosting an exhibition In the Footsteps of Cai Lun II – Selected Works on Paper. The exhibition is open until the 5th of September, 2022. 

The exhibited pieces demonstrate visitors how material qualities of paper, especially its surface, influence drawings, created with graphite, charcoal, pastels, or monoprint techniques.

The history of modern-day paper dates back to first-century Chinese official Cai Lun, who revolutionised the process of making it. According to the tradition of that era, paper was made from silk. Cai Lun followed the same path, however, he added wood ash and hemp to it. Such material had considerable strength owing to its drying in the sun and smoothing with stones. For this invention, Cai Lun received a high position from the emperor and occupied a significant position in Chinese society.

Mustafa Fathi, Untitled, 2002. Mixed media on paper, 21 x 33 cm

Since that time, paper has been used in the Middle East and provided various artists and craftsmen with different image-making possibilities, creating a vivid subcategory of the region’s art history.

The exhibition Footsteps of Cai Lun II: Selected Works on Paper features painters and artists who have used drawing and printmaking as their primary media. Exhibiting artists are: Tammam Azzam, Nihad Al-Turk, Mohammad Bozorgi, Thaier Helal, Samia Halaby, Athier Mousawi, Moustafa Fathi, Khaled Takret and Faisal Samra. 

Artists Athier Mousawi, Nihad Al-Turk, Mohammad Bozorgi, Khaled Takreti, and Tammam Azzam show how paper is still used as a surface that can mirror the implied materiality of an image. Faisal Samia’s art present paper versatility. Athier Mousawi’s artworks are studies of colour and spatial composition. 

Tammam Azzam, Laundry Series, 2011. Mixed Media on Paper, 70 x 100 cm

Though Moustafa Fathi uses a brush to create mixed-media paintings on paper, the works resemble a monoprint technique, based on his research of textiles in his native Syria. The art of Faisal Samra and Thaier Helal present paper’s malleability.

AYYAM Gallery was founded in 2006. It is a leading arts organisation managing the careers of various established and emerging artists.

To get more information, please visit the official web page of the event.

You may be also interested in visiting the Mist exhibition by artists Shada Safadi and Akram Al Halabi.

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