Ayyam Gallery is new to London and will be showing contemporary artists from the Middle East. Already present in Damascus, Beirut and Dubai, this is the gallery’s first European location. It is launching with an exhibition of works by Lebanese artist Nadim Karam, who is a true renaissance man with a multi-disciplinary approach that includes writing and architecture, not to mention public art for many international cities.
Karam’s series of mixed-media paintings Shooting the Cloud combines a child-like, naïve line with paint and colour. Dealing with love and war, they appear ambiguously dreamlike and whimsical yet on closer inspection touch deep issues. The figures float in an almost Chagall-like way, and interact with with flowers, planes, machine guns and tanks.
There are also a selection of metallic sculptures, smaller editions of some of his larger scale public works, which are somewhat less poetical. Somehow the paintings seem more personal although he is clearly very passionate about his public works. Despite living and working in Beirut and having to deal with the results of war and assassinations on a daily basis, Nadim Karam cuts an engaging and warm figure. When I asked him whether he thought it was more relevant to have art displayed outside than inside a museum, his answer was very much in favour of public art as he felt it was more immediate and easier for people to enjoy. Much as his answer when asked ‘Can cities dream?’ was a firm and immediate ‘Yes! We must make them dream – by injecting public art.’
Nadim Karam | Shooting the Cloud
Till 9th March 2013
143 New Bond Street
London W1A 2TP
Words by Anna Bang
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