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New solo exhibition of leading Syrian artist Thaier Helal opens at Ayyam Gallery Dubai
Assi River, 2014. Mixed media on canvas, 145 x 145 cm.

DUBAI.- Ayyam Gallery Dubai announced the opening of Landmarks, the new solo exhibition of leading Syrian artist Thaier Helal, on Monday, 27 October from 7-9PM.

Presenting two new series of paintings, Landmarks will feature neo-expressionist works that explore a multi-sensory perception of Syria’s diverse terrain as the artist figuratively reenters the now war-torn country.

Partly based on experiential recollections, Helal creates mimetic compositions that speak of man-made ruin while simultaneously reflecting the resistant forces of nature and a historic landscape that possesses potential for renewal. The exhibition’s included works represent the artist’s recent Mountain and River series, which are executed in the cool-palette of his early mixed media canvases, and mark a return to abstraction after a several-year period of experimentation with appropriated imagery and found objects that directly relate to the conflict in Syria.

A leading figure in contemporary Syrian art, Thaier Helal’s large mixed media works are considered at the forefront of contemporary abstraction in the Middle East. Drawing inspiration from the physical and sensory aspects of the world around him, Helal explores the dynamism of space as it is reshaped by the fluctuation of society and culture. His canvases communicate movement and energy through explosions of colour, the meticulous division of the picture plane, and the repetitive layering of the surface. Although utilising the leitmotifs of contemporary painting, the artist’s deliberate approach is reminiscent of the formalism of Islamic art, which relies on units as part of a larger whole to communicate a sense of wonder when alluding to the sublime.

Recently, Helal has employed images of the Syrian Army taken from various media in haunting compositions that isolate the mechanisms of warfare. Isolating such stark imagery against a black background, Helal confronts the abject reality that currently besieges Syrians while pointing to the increased militarisation of global society.

Born in Syria in 1967, Thaier Helal graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus before relocating to Sharjah in the 1990s, where he currently lives and works. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Gold Award at the Contemporary Painting Biennial, Tehran (2005); and the Award for Painting at the Sharjah International Biennial (1997). Helal has also contributed to the development of regional art as a longtime faculty member of the University of Sharjah, Fine Arts College. Selected solo exhibitions for the artist include Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, DIFC (2012); Ayyam Gallery Cairo (2011); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2010); Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2010); Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2006, 2003); Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi (2002); and Sharjah Art Museum (2000).

The exhibition opening will be held alongside DIFC Art Nights on Monday, 27 October from 7-10PM.

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