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Ayyam Gallery to expand into London and Jeddah
Nadim Karam & Atelier Hapsitus (Makram el-Kadi, Naji Moujaes, Karim Moallem, Micheal Habib), Untitled, 1997-2000, Downtown Beirut, Courtesy Nadim Karam.

LONDON.- Ayyam Gallery announced the expansion of its international activities with the launch of two new galleries in London and Jeddah in early 2013. The curatorial programme of both galleries will reflect that of Ayyam Gallery’s existing locations in Damascus, Beirut and Dubai, showcasing established and emerging Middle Eastern artists with the aim of bringing the art of this significant region to a wider audience.

The decision to open in London reflects Ayyam Gallery’s mission to challenge the popular perception of Middle Eastern art, with an exhibition program that eschews traditional Middle Eastern tropes and new Islamic art in favour of an aesthetic with global resonance. Says Khaled Samawi: “Our presence in London will allow us to better represent our artists, repositioning us from a regional gallery representing regional artists to a global gallery representing artists with a global reach.”

On Ayyam Jeddah, Hisham Samawi says: “We have recently witnessed a revival of the Saudi art scene and a concurrent flourishing of international interest in Saudi artists. As was the case in Damascus, Ayyam’s presence will help strengthen existing creative infrastructure to ensure the continued nurturing and success of Saudi artists”.

Ayyam London will launch at its location at 143 New Bond Street on 24 January 2013 with a solo exhibition of work by influential Lebanese artist and architect Nadim Karam. Renowned for his public art and work in urban regeneration, Nadim Karam’s exhibition at Ayyam London will comprise a series of new paintings, rich in colour and presenting a playful, almost satirical, perception of love and war. These will be shown alongside editions of his iconic steel sculptural works, described as ‘urban toys’ by the artist. Recent examples have taken on a reflective quality, with burnished surfaces, rusted browns and even beads and buttons making way for highly polished mirrored steel. Pieces both reproduce the world around them and disappear into it, becoming one with their surroundings.

Karam’s multi-disciplinary approach incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture and writing. Fusing various cultural influences, Karam’s works transcend social, political and national borders, forming a unique pictorial language, replete with recurring symbols, and with its own original characters and narratives. They form an alphabet of sorts, in what is an on-going, sometimes absurdist, exploration of the creative power of dreams.

Ayyam Jeddah will open on 6 February 2013 with a group show of paintings and photographic works by some of the region’s most exciting and relevant young artists, including: Mohannad Orabi, Abdul Karim Majdal Al Beik, Oussama Diab, Lara Zankoul, Lara Attalah and Mohammad Badr.

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