Dalloul Art Foundation

Dalloul Art Foundation

AMAR DAWOD AMAR DAWOD

AMAR DAWOD, Iraq (1957)

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Bio

Written by Mysa Kafil-Hussain

“Humanity has organised the world in a devastating way…. Painting, as a reaction to all this, is a kind of liberation and thrilling road, even if that road is sometimes bumpy”  Amar Dawod[1]

Born in Baghdad in 1957, Amar Dawod would grow up to become one of the many Iraqi artists living in exile, with a spiritual, philosophical and historic depth running through his experimental artwork. As a teenager, Dawod was influenced by Jewad Selim and the Baghdad Modern Art Group, and spent most of his time drawing on books, exploring the world of colour and calligraphy.[2]A promising young artist, he enrolled in the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in the mid-1970s and graduated in 1979 with a diploma in graphic art. One year later, Dawod left Iraq for good and began a new life, first in Poland and then in Sweden.[3]

Whilst a student in Baghdad, Dawod was taught by Shakir Hassan Al Said who introduced him and his fellow classmates to the foundations of art practice, including the educational, moral and social aspects of art, but also discussions on philosophy and mysticism. This had a great impact on the young artist, with Dawod himself claiming that these lessons were “a real breakthrough that made me understand the meaning of being an artist”.[4]Dawod, already part of a political family and exposed to the increasingly tense political atmosphere in Iraq, was now also being exposed to Sufi thought and existentialism. It was during his years as a student in the 1970s, through his own personal study and the influence of Al Said and others, that Dawod began to explore the works of al-Hallaj, who would inform much of his later work: “although I am a descendant of a Communist family, I came out of the cloak of al-Hallaj”.[5]

Although Dawod was in Poland and Sweden during the 1980s, he was always connected back to Iraq. Part of the “Eighties Generation” – a term coined in 1991 to describe the artists who had “reached maturity” during the Iran-Iraq War – he was internationally in sync with many of his Iraqi contemporaries, some of whom were exhibiting within Iraq, and many outside Iraq.[6]What these artists had in common was their heritage, their culture and for many, their artistic training. Dawod exhibited extensively throughout the 1980s and 1990s across Europe in solo and group exhibitions and a range of biennales and other art fairs. He also pursued further training, receiving an MA in graphic art in 1987 in Poland, and a qualification in animation in the early 1990s in Sweden.[7]During this period, whilst many artists were overcome with the grief of war and exile, Dawod’s spiritual and mystical understanding of the world enabled him to approach his artwork in an optimistic light, veering away from tragedy and instead adopting what he describes as “a poetic energy that praises the beauty of the world”.[8]This approach connected with his interpretations of al-Hallaj’s teachings, using the Persian mystic’s philosophy that death is a new beginning for another life. 

The new millennium began with Dawod taking part in exhibitions almost every year, one of which was Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art that took place across the USA, over several years. This new phenomenon of book art, a continuation of Iraq’s rich history of illustrated manuscripts and literary traditions, had been reinterpreted as a mobile national tool to creatively communicate the Iraqi struggle, be it locally under sanctions, war and occupation, or from the distance of melancholic and nostalgic exile. The exhibition helped to establish the concept as a significant artform and Dawod made several of his own dafatir, one of which is now part of the British Museum’s collection.

The physical manifestation of the impact of al-Hallaj on Dawod’s artistic output increased significantly from 2010 onwards, with Dawod creating a series of paintings based on his celebrated Kitab al-Tawasin, with each chapter called a ‘ta’sin’. There are twelve paintings by Dawod in the Dalloul Collection, of which ten are from his al-Hallaj-inspired series, including The Ta-Sin of Before Endless-Time and Equivacation I(2010)The Ta-Sin of the Self -Awareness in Tawhid I(2011)The Ta-Sin of Purity II(2012)The Ta-sin of the Disconnection-from-Forms II(2012)The Ta-Sin of the Prophetic Lamp I(2013)The Ta-Sin of the Disconnection-from-Forms III(2013)The Ta-Sin of Purity III(2013)The Ta-Sin of Point III(2013)The Tawasin 9(2016) and The Tawasin 10(2016). Exhibited in a solo show at a prominent Dubai gallery in 2013, Dawod brought pencil, ink, pastels, watercolours, acrylic paint, charcoal and mixed media collage on to paper to interpret al-Hallaj’s verses in abstract, and sometimes cubist vivid colours and forms. He depicted a range of figures, shapes and patterns in an effort to rebel against “pure painting”, an active choice Dawod made in order to visualise the complexities of al-Hallaj’s style of writing and theories.[9]

The final two paintings in the collection, both of which were composed in 2017 – Al-Faris and Self Portrait– show other aspects of Dawod’s influences and skills. Al-Faris, meaning ‘the knight’ is a hark back to medieval times and tales of warriors and battles. Dawod often uses references from ancient Eastern civilisations and local cultural heritage, creating this textured, patterned cubist rendering to enable this knight to come to life with a colourful and vibrant energy. Self Portrait takes a different turn, incorporating his usual patterns and colours in depictions of his canvases in the background, but the foreground shows a vivid, hyper-realistic portrait of the artist himself, almost providing a three-dimensional vision into his studio and thus his world.

Dawod experiments with illusions and fantasy just as much as he incorporates rich historical traditions and Sufi mysticism, resulting in an incredible range of artworks. Even when heavily referencing his homeland and his personal experiences and traditions, his work has a universalism, which crosses cultural and geographic boundaries.[10]Rarely does he insist on one interpretation, preferring to avoid any particular meaning: “for me, the aesthetics of a painting lie in the vagueness and recklessness of the content and the absence of a one-dimensional purpose”.[11]As a result, it is incredibly difficult to pigeonhole Dawod’s style, influences and artistic purpose, and instead, as he most likely intended, his work is open to any form of philosophical, mystical and creative analysis and appreciation. Dawod still lives and works in Sweden, and continues exhibit his paintings across the world. 

[1]Khudair Al-Zaidi (2019), “الفنان عمار داوود: الصوفية العامل المؤثر في وجداني فنياً”, n.pag

[2]Faruqi (2011), p.70

[3]Al-Zaidi (2019), n.pag

[4]Ibid

[5]Faruqi (2011), p.62

[6]Meem Gallery (2013), “Al-Hallaj and the Tawasin: Amar Dawood”, n.pag

[7]Al-Zaidi (2018), n.pag

[8]Meem Gallery (2013), n.pag

[9]Marsoum Art Collective (N.d), “Artist Bio: Amar Dawod”, n.pag

[10]Amar Dawod (2010), “On the Art of Painting”, p.38

[11]Amar Dawod (2010), “On the Art of Painting”, p.38

Sources

Dawod, Amar (2010). “On the Art of Painting”, In Art in Iraq Today: Part III(Exhibition Catalogue, Meem Gallery, Dubai, 2011)

Faruqi, Samar (2011)“Art as a Psychological Outlet: Expatriation and the Work of Contemporary Iraqi Artists”.In Contemporary Practices: Visual Arts from the Middle East VIII, pp. 62-73

Al-Zaidi, Khudair (2018), “الفنان عمار داوود: الصوفية العامل المؤثر في وجداني فنياً”, In Magazine.imn.iq, 16 May 2018. Accessed June 2020. https://magazine.imn.iq/فنون/الفنان-عمار-داوود-الصوفية-العامل-المؤ%20/

Marsoum Art Collective (N.d.) “Artist Bio: Amar Dawod”, In Marsoum.co. Accessed June 2020.https://marsoum.co/artists/amar-dawod

Meem Gallery (2013) “Al-Hallaj and the Tawasin: Amar Dawood” (Exhibition Catalogue, Meem Gallery, Dubai, 2013), In Meemartgallery.com. Accessed June 2020. https://www.meemartgallery.com/exhibitions/27/overview/

British Museum (N.d.) “Amar Dawod: Artist Book”, In Britishmuseum.org. Accessed June 2020.https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_2017-6006-2                 

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CV

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019

Insinuations,Karim Gallery, Amman, Jordan

2018

KAC Katara Cultural Village, Doha, Qatar

2017

Miniatures, Karim Gallery, Amman, Jordan

2015

Gallery Mot Strömmen, Norrköping, Sweden

2013

Al-Hallaj and the Tawasin, Meem Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Teatergalleriat, Kalmar, Sweden

2010

Arabic Mood, Karim Gallery, Amman, Jordan

2009

Artist of the Month, Torsås Art Association, Torsås, Sweden

2008

Gallery 55, Västervik, Sweden

2007

Gallery Storgatan 31, Västervik, Sweden

2004

Högsby Konsthall, Högsby, Sweden

2003

Artist of the Month, Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar, Sweden

2002

Oskarshamns Konsthall, Oskarshamn, Sweden
Falun City Library, Falun, Sweden
Konsthall, Vetlanda, Sweden
Grafik, Galeri Hornan, Falu Stadsbibliotek, Sweden

2000 

Arch Gallery, Kalmar, Sweden
Galleri Storgatan 31, Västervik, Sweden

1997

Arch Gallery, Kalmar, Sweden
Galleri C Hjärne, Helsingborg, Sweden

1996

Kulturhuset, Västervik, Sweden
Galleri Majoren, Sollefteå, Sweden

1992

Gallery T, Łódź, Poland

1991

Gallery Linjen, Västervik, Sweden
Gallery Ängeln, Lund, Sweden

1989

Kulturhuset, Västervik, Sweden

1988

Gallery Kretsen, Södertälje, Sweden
Gallery Linjen, Västervik, Sweden

1983

Gallery BWA, Łódź, Poland

1982

Art Academy, Łódź, Poland

Selected Group Exhibitions

2020

Objects of Imagination: Contemporary Arab Ceramics, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan

2015

Höstsalongen, Gamleby, Sweden

2014

A Tribute to Rafa Nasiri, Nabad Art Gallery, Amman, Jordan
Eva Bengtsson – Keramik & Amar Dawod – Måleri, Konsthallen, Västervik, Sweden

2012

Art in Iraq Today, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Amar Dawod: Painting and Svante Bäck: Photography(Joint Exhibition), Lilla Galleriet, Västervik, Sweden

2011 

Art in Iraq Today III, Meem Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Art in Iraq Today: Conclusion, Meem Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2010

Beyond the War, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, United States of America

2009

Autumn Salon, Gamleby Gallery, Västervik, Sweden
Three Scholarship Recipients, Konstrum Gallery, Västervik, Sweden

2008

(H)ÄR – Art from the Kalmar Region, Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar, Sweden
Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, Denison University, Granville, Ohio, United States of America

2007

Paintings by Lillemor Bokström, Amar Dawod and Jan Wiberg, Gallery Järnet, Västervik, Sweden
Contemporary Iraqi Art, Pomegranate Gallery, New York, United States of America
Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art(travelling exhibition), The Center for Book Arts, New York; Minneapolis Athenaeum, Minneapolis, Minnesota; NIU Art Museum, DeKalb, Illinois; The Jaffe Centre for Book Arts, Boca Raton, Florida, United States of America

2006

Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art(travelling exhibition), Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota; Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; University of Texas, El Paso, Texas; Daura Gallery, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia, United States of America
Summer of Love, Virserums Konsthall, Virserum, Sweden
Light Installation, Light Project, Kalmar, Sweden
Gränsös konst, Ronneby Kulturcentrum, Ronneby, Sweden
International Biennial - Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

2005

Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art(travelling exhibition), University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas, United States of America
Five Artists from Västervik, Eksjö Museum, Eksjö, Sweden

2004

International Biennial - Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

2003

A propos de “La Résurrection” de Piero della Francesca, Musée du Petit Format, Tuscany and Viroinval, Italy
Arab Illustrators of Childrens’ Books, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

2002

International Biennial - Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

2000

5 Triennale Mondiale de l’Estampe Petit Format, Chamalières, France

1998

International Biennial - Petit format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

1997

Bilder vom Menschen, Xylon Museum + Werkstätten, Schwetzingen, Germany

1994

Relief, Plan, Images, Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image Imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium

1992

Graphics Triennial, Fredrikstad, Norway
The Fifth International Drawing Triennial, Wrocław, Poland

1991

Premio Internazionale di Biella per l’Incisione, Biella, Italy
Biennial of Graphic Art, Ljubljana
International Biennial, Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

1990

International Graphics Triennal – Intergrafik 90, Berlin, Germany
Xylon 11, Gewerbemuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland

1989

Graphics Triennial, Fredrikstad, Norway
International Biennial - Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

1987

Xylon 10, Gewerbemuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland
International Biennial - Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium

1986

Graphics Triennial 11, Kraków, Poland

1985

UMC Fine Art Center, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America

1984

Graphics Triennial 10, Kraków, Poland

1983

International Biennal – Petit Format de Papier, Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium
Small Graphic Form, Gallery BWA, Łódź, Poland
Xylon 9, Gewerbemuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland

Awards

2012

Grant Awarded, Swedish Art Grants Committee, Sweden

2011

Grant Awarded, Swedish Art Grants Committee, Sweden

2010

Grant Awarded, Swedish Art Grants Committee, Sweden

2007

Grant Awarded, Arab World Institute, Paris, France

1989

Graphics Triennial Award, Fredrikstad, Norway

1986

Honourary Mention, Graphics Triennal 11, Kraków, Poland

1984

Honourary Mention, Graphics Triennal 10, Kraków, Poland

Collections

Azzawi Collection, London, United Kingdom
Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
British Museum, London, United Kingdom
Hussain Ali Harba Family Collection, Amman, Jordan
Gewerbe Museum, Winterthur, Switzerland
Ibrahimi Collection, Amman, Jordan
Kinda Collection, Saudi Arabia
Jordan National Gallery of Fine Art, Amman, Jordan
Musée du Petit Format, Nismes, Belgium
Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation (DAF), Beirut, Lebanon

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Documents

Amar Dawod Arabic Mood
Karim Gallery
English/Arabic, 2010

Catalogue

Insinuations
Karim Gallery, English/Arabic, 2019

Brochure

Art as a ‘Psychololgical Outlet› : Expatriation and The Work of Contemporary Iraqi Artists
Samar Faruqi
contemporarypractices.net, English

Essayrn

تخيلات معاصرة
Dia Al Azzawi
Arabic, 2018
رسومات على الورق من ازمنة مختلفة
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2009
مارسيل دوشامب: اللعب تحررا من اللغة البصرية
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2010
الشيئية العينية للعمل الفني
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2010
جان دوبوفييه: الرسام الذي حرر الصورة من فخاخ الثقافة
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2010
الآخر بصفته مرآتي
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
صور لمزاج عربي
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
(مارسيل دوشامب: (الزجاجة الكبيرة) او ( العروس منزوعة الثياب من قبل فتيانها
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
في التصوير
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
Wladyslaw Strzeminski : ستشمينسكي استيعابنا البصري
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
شاكر حسن ال سعيد بعين تلميذه
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
تبت أجنحة الفراشات, فلنحدق مليا داخل الشرانق
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2012
منذ دادا لا جديد في الفن
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2012
في معنى التذوق: العمل الفني بصفته بنية علاقات شكلية
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2012
أغراض الرسم
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2012
ادوات الرسم
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2013
وماذا بعد موتي ؟
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2018
خاطر ة في آ لس و بلاد ا ل عجا ئب و ا ل رسا م
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2018
صورة
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2018
خاطرة في الھلوسة البصریة كآلیة لانتاج اللوحات
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2018
الرسم كطرس
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2018
بعض الأفكار الخاصة بمشروع معرض جماعي مقترح للتبني
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2014
لقاء نصوص
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2014
كلاي كيتر: فناء الفن في محيطه
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
في النظر الى الشيء او الصورة بصفتها تساميا
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2011
فرانسيس بيكابيا: بهلوان الرسم الجاحد لحدوده
Amar Dawod
Arabic, 2010
الرسم كثيره’ طَرَس وطمَس وقليله إضافة
Amar Dawod
Arabic
Book: The ring of the dove
Amar Dawod
English, 2015
Amar Dawod
Amar Dawod
English
On the Art of Painting
Amar Dawod
English, 2010
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Press

الفنان عمار داود: الصوفیة العامل المؤثر في وجداني فنیً
خضير الزيدي
​صحیفة الشبكة العراقیة, Arabic, 2016
التشكيلي العراقي عمار داوود: أنا رسّام ملول لا أركن إلى أسلوب
القدس العربي, Arabic, 2016
Iraqi art and artists celebrated in new book
Dina Aboul Hosn
Gulf News, English, 2012
التشكيلي العراقي عمار داوود ومغامرة إحياء التراث الروحي
خضير الزيدي
صحيفة العرب, Arabic, 2016
عرض لأعمالي في متحف الفن لمحافضة كالمار الساحلية
Amar Dawod
Amardawod.blogspot.com, English, 2008
معرض مشترك للفنان عمار داود في السويد
IraqiArt, Arabic, 2012
الفنان التشكيلي عمار داوود وسفر المنفى
alkompis.se, Arabic, 2013
هكذا تكلم عمار داود
تغريد هاشم
إيلاف, Arabic, 2017
Technical Mastery and Complex Subjectivity at Amar Dawod’s Insinuations
Zina Qabbani
English, 2020
Amar Dawod Insinuations
Selections, English, 2019
عمّار داود.. "تلميحات" إلى وطن غائب
العربي الجديد, Arabic, 2019
"Objects of the imagination" of contemporary Arab Ceramics Exhibion. At Jordan National museum of Fine Arts
Ibrahimi Collection, English, 2019
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Videos

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Exhibitions

AMAR DAWOD Artwork