Almost a Dream, an exhibition of new works by acclaimed Syrian painter Safwan Dahoul will be held at Ayyam Gallery Dubai (DIFC) from 5 February to 13 March.
While incorporating Dahoul’s signature monochromatic, minimalistic style, the paintings in Almost a Dream import a new, more direct engagement with reality on the ground as they relate to recent catastrophic events in the artist’s native country of Syria.
Having been invested in hulum, the dream, for the past 25 years, Dahoul has begun to distance himself from the realm of the dream and examine whether it is actually dreams which inspire his paintings or something else entirely. This in-between realm of dreaming and not dreaming is evident in several of his bold works.
Safwan Dahoul’s evocative canvases, all of which share the title Dream, examine some of the most intimate moments of the human experience: slumber, companionship, solitude and death. The soulful, dreamy human figures that populate his work are ‘substance matter’ for the artist, a tool through which he depicts and preserves his own biography. Dominated by black, white and muted tones, Dahoul’s canvases explore the relationship between the figure and its background, between the human being and space. His minimalist use of colour references his surroundings and is a response to the absence of colour now seen on the streets of Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
Born in 1961 in Hama, Syria, Safwan Dahoul lives and works in Dubai. Dahoul attended the Suheil Al Ahdab Center of Plastic Arts and the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. In 1987, he received a scholarship to study abroad from the Ministry of Higher Education and relocated to Belgium, achieving his Doctorate from the Higher Institute of Plastic Arts in Mons in1997. His work is held in numerous private and public collections including the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; The Samawi Collection, Dubai; The Farjam Collection, Dubai; and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Kuwait.