Dia Azzawi

Born in Baghdad in 1939, Dia Azzawi started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad. In 1969, Azzawi formed the New Vision group (al-Ru’yya al Jadidah), uniting fellow artists prioritising the ideological and cultural aspects of art above any aesthetic premise. His focus was mainly on the demise of the Palestinian tragedies and nationalistic commitment. From 1968- 1976, Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. In London, Azzawi was an art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre from 1977 to 1980. His move to London led him to rediscover book art (dafatir), a venture that has encouraged many of his contemporaries to explore the possibilities of the medium. His art is featured in international collections, including the Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad (Damascus and Tunis), Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (Amman), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha), Barjeel Art Foundation (Sharjah), Kinda Foundation (Saudi Arabia), Una Foundation (Casablanca), Arab Monetary Fund (Abu Dhabi), Development Fund (Kuwait), Jeddah International Airport, the British Museum, Tate Modern, and Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Institut du Monde Arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Colas Foundation (Paris), Harba Collection (Iraq and Italy), Gulbenkian Collection (Barcelona) and Library of Congress and the World Bank (Washington DC). In 2016, Mathaf: The Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar held Azzawi’s retrospective from “1963 to tomorrow” entitled “I am a cry, who will give a voice to me?”, which comprised works from over 50 years of his career.