Are We Still Dreaming?


When art touches your soul. I was recently blessed to see the awesome work of artist Safwan Dahoul in DIFC: I didn’t plan to visit this exhibit, just bumped into it. And it was surprisingly beautiful.

Since the late 1980s, Dahoul’s ongoing Dream series has explored the physical and psychological effects of alienation, solitude, and longing that punctuate the human experience at various stages in life. Partly autobiographical, the artist uses the formal properties of painting to recreate the subconscious sense of enclosure that surfaces during periods of crisis. in his newest work Still Dreaming, he continues this exploration, however this time posing the question: Are we still dreaming?

Dahoul focuses on the nostalgia of home while trying to depict a representation of both what he sees and feels. The exhibit features two large paintings and 16 identically sized works, 120 x 76 cm. In the 16 works, Dahoul’s recurring female protagonist is painted at the center of each canvas, she sits in precisely the same position, focusing the viewer straight on. Each painting, different to the other, is defined by the placement of various objects on the figures chest, that seem to deepen the state of her disaffection, as even the familiar becomes a trigger of distress. the figure is sometimes vacant-eyed, other times more expressive, with minimized physicality. The female’s eyes are lauded with emotion; her lips are slightly parted, seemingly caught in the moment of deciding whether to speak or remain silent. The works echo of a deafening silence that paralyses the viewer in front of them.

Absolutely moving!

AYYAM GALLERY – Gate Village Building 3 DIFC

You can follow and discover more about this stunning artist @safwan_dahoul on Insta.

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