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Ayyam Gallery Jeddah is pleased to announce "Om Kalthoum"\, a solo exhibition of Syrian artist Asaad Arabi from 24 April – 30 May 2013.  

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Following on from his previous series of work "Nostalgia"\, shown at Ayyam Gallery DIFC\, Dubai in 2011\, for his exhibition at Ayyam Galler y Jeddah the artist revisits the subject of legendary Egyptian singer\, Om Kalthoum. Arabi paints expressive portraits of her that both serve as a tri bute to her talent and investigate the wider relationship between music and painting. Throughout his gestural work\, he pays close attention to colour : bold strokes of vivid colour call to mind a conductor leading his orchest ra through a powerful symphony\, or a composer marking notes on a score. \n

Though Kalthoum remains the focus of the series\, in 'Seat of the Fo rgiven' (2012) the musicians accompanying her take centre stage. These figu res and their assortment of instruments are rendered with loose\, fluid bru shstrokes\, imbuing them with a restless energy. Arabi’s fascination with t he relationship of the visual to the acoustic is evident throughout his wor k\; he creates paintings that are a testament to the pervasive bond between the act of painting and playing music\, two art forms which have drawn on each other for inspiration and stimulation throughout history. Arabi has co mmented: “Paul Klee and František Kupka claimed that the spiritual dimensio n of the canvas comes from its fusion with music or in other terms\, that i t emanates from the sense associated with seeing and hearing - that is\, fr om the heart.”.

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Rather than painting static and posed portraits of Kalthoum\, he captures her mid-performance – head tilted back and arms held aloft\, commanding the audience. In doing so\, he invites the viewer to be come part of the audience and experience a collective nostalgia for this mu ch-loved singer. Arabi has spoken of his fascination with Kalthoum’s abilit y to transcend the barriers of class and religion in Middle Eastern society \, likening her to a religious leader to whose music people turn for ‘spiri tual nourishment’.

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Between 2010 and 2011\, Arabi listened to Kaltho um every day while drawing and painting in an immersive ritual which then c ompelled him to study every aspect of her performance and the musicians who played with her. While Nostalgia paid homage to a legend and the intense e motional response she inspired\, Om Kalthoum elevates Arabi’s studies to a major survey of this iconic cultural figure.

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Born in Damascus in 19 41\, Asaad Arabi lives and works in Paris. He holds a PhD in Aesthetics fro m the Sorbonne University and his work on aesthetic theory has been widely published in both French and Arabic. Selected solo exhibitions include Ayya m Gallery DIFC\, Dubai (2011)\; Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2010)\; Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2009)\; Cairo Biennial (2004)\; Sircov Gallery\, Brest\, France (2003)\; Kuwait Museum (2003). His works are housed in museum collections i ncluding Institut du Monde Arabe\, Paris\; Barcelona Contemporary Museum of Art\, The National Museum\, New Dehli\; and South Korea’s Museum in Seoul\ ; and LACMA\, Los Angeles.

DTEND:20130530 DTSTAMP:20140830T202414 DTSTART:20130424 GEO:21.543489;39.172989 LOCATION:Ayyam Gallery\, Jeddah\,Bougainvillea Center Jeddah King's Road\, Al-Shati District\n Jeddah\, SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Om Kalthoum \, Asaad Arabi UID:274048 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR