24 September – 31 October 2012
Dia Azzawi's mural-sized painting, Elegy To My Trapped City (2011), was first exhibited by the gallery in November 2011, during Abu Dhabi Art. Comprised of haunting fragmented monochrome forms, the work represents the post-2003 destruction of Iraq. As one of the more politically inclined artists of his generation, Azzawi has since the 1970s created works which address the issue of human suffering as a result of political instability. His politically motivated works are often likened to Picasso's seminal painting Guernica (1937); however, the artist's exploration of themes of war and plight also differ from the Spanish artist in several ways: in the nature of the attack displayed, and the compositional arrangement of figures and forms. The display of Elegy follows the recent unveiling of the artist's work Sabra Shatila Massacre at the Tate Modern in London, a work based on the 1982 massacre of civilians in Beirut's Palestinian refugee camps during the Lebanese civil war. Elegy, which also pays homage to the Iraqi poet Abd al-Wahhab al-Bayati's (1926 – 1999) poem of the same title, was exhibited with five acrylic and China ink preparatory drawings by the artist.