Tammam Azzam Damascus, Syria

Following the outbreak of violence in Syria, Azzam has used his artistic practice to reflect on the worsening situation. The artist has been working increasingly with digital media and has often referenced street art, recognizing both of these mediums as powerful and direct tools for protest, which are also difficult to suppress. In early 2013, Azzam made headlines world wide when his work Freedom Graffiti went viral on social media. He enlisted one of the most iconic kisses in art – Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss – to protest his country’s suffering, superimposing this image of love over the walls of a war-torn building in Damascus. The work was one of a series, Syrian Museum, in which he placed imagery taken from masterpieces of Western art history into photographs of scenes of devastation across Syria, to both highlight the destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage and to juxtapose some of the greatest achievements of humanity with the pain it is also capable of inflicting.

The canvases of Syrian artist Tammam Azzam are experiments in the application of various media. Unusual components such a rope, clothes pins and other found objects are employed to create depth, texture and space, achieving a striking balance between the ordinary objects the artist portrays and the grand terrain that he evokes. For Azzam, such a methodology facilitates the creation of an artwork as a “hybrid form,” one that is capable of borrowing and multiplying as it evolves.

Born in Damascus in 1980, Tammam Azzam lives and works in Dubai. Selected solo and group exhibitions include Ayyam Gallery London (2013); the 30th Biennal of Graphic Arts, Slovenia (2013); Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2012, 2009); Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2011); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2010); Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2010).