ARAB PRINT: PART II
June 1st – August 31st 2016
Following up on the 2008 Meem exhibition Arab Print volume I, Meem Gallery brings together the works of Dia Azzawi, Kamal Boullata, Marwan, Rasa Al Nasiri and Mohammed Omar Khalil; under the title Arab Print Volume II.
On the 31st of October, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Thesis to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and history was made. Copies of the treatise spread all over Europe thanks to the affordability and ease of the printing press. Artists such as Albrecht Durer inspired Renaissance masters Raphael and Titan in Italy, and later the salacious Hogarth in England; to utilize printmaking as a way to spread art across the World.
450 years later, in the 1960’s, printmaking would see a revival among contemporary artists striving to experiment with new media and the newly founded Graphic Arts movement. Having mainly been used for the production of religious text and manuscripts, printmaking evolved over time to the process of creation rather than preservation.
A revolution of sorts began, and within this exhibition works can be seen by Modern Arab Art pioneers Dia Azzawi, Kamal Boullata, Marwan, Mohammad Omar Khalil and the late Rafa Nasiri. Arab Print Vol II, aims to shed light on the early printmaking works of the artists that were largely responsible for the development of printmaking in the Arab world and the resurgence of interest among young artists in the region.
Arab Print Vol II highlights different forms of print-making, from etching to aquatint, lithograph to screen-prints. Within the works of Kamal Boullata and Mohammed Omar Khalil – the eye is drawn from sharp lines and graphic geometric design to monochromatic, tonal works in soft hues. Marwan’s masterful etchings bring to mind the early works of Durer, creating lustrous lines of the human form. Iraqi artists Azzawi and Nasiri delve into the world of the abstract and the icon, creating works that are now quintessentially Iraqi in style.
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