A Picture of Poetry The Artist's Books of Dia al-Azzawi


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A Picture of Poetry The Artist's Books of Dia al-Azzawi
A Picture of Poetry The Artist's Books of Dia al-Azzawi

compiled and edited by Louisa Macmillan
In this catalogue, the enormous and eclectic collection of Dia al-Azzawi’s artist’s books is being published for the first time
Have you ever wondered what sound looks like? How would you paint a song, draw a story or sculpt the spoken word? Inspired by his love of listening to Arabic poetry, Dia al-Azzawi has made over 100 daf¯a tir (artist’s books) in his distinctive visual style over more than half a century. This eclectic collection contains Azzawi’s emotional responses to recited poems, written novels, media coverage of global events and personal memories, here published in full for the first time.
Expanding upon early experiments with combined text and image, A Picture of Poetry contains every artwork conceived by Azzawi in the form of a book. These range from early works on paper to limited-edition printed books and later three-dimensional works, blurring the line between other artforms (drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures) and daf¯a tir, thereby reinventing the medium while embodying many of the distinctive features of Azzawi’s work as a whole.
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This catalogue also features essays by Francesca Leoni, Nada Shabout and Wen-chin Ouyang, translations of Azzawi’s own writing (by Saleem Al-Bahloly) and excerpts of the literature that inspired him to make these extraordinary daf¯a tir. Although these artworks would inspire a generation of younger Iraqi artists to create their own daf¯a tir in times of crisis and adversity, this collection remains a lesser-known, private side of Azzawi’s practice that has never been seen in its entirety before.
Dia al-Azzawi was born in Baghdad in 1939 and studied archaeology and fine art before working in museums across Iraq. After moving to London in 1976, he curated exhibitions and edited art publications and eventually became a full-time artist. Azzawi’s work has been widely collected and displayed in countless group and solo exhibitions, especially in Europe and across the Arab world (including three retrospectives: Paris, 2001; Abu Dhabi, 2009; Doha, 2016–17). Best known as a colourist painter, Azzawi celebrates Arab culture in all his work, while continuously blurring the boundaries between artforms and embracing new technologies. His works can be distinguished by their impressive scale (especially monumental paintings, sculptures and architectural design) and the amalgamation of images and the written word (including intricate works on paper and artist’s books, which he has been making since the 1960s).
Dimensions24 x 28cm
Colour illustrations475
shipment Shipments on national territory and abroad in 4/5 working days.


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