EOA.Projects presented the first UK solo exhibition of largescale works by Safwan Dahoul, one of the most prominent Arab painters working today. The exhibition launched with a special event including book launch and public discussion between the artist, Edge of Arabia Founder, Stephen Stapleton and Khaled Samawi.
The exhibition title, Repetitive Dreams, refers not only to the subject of Dahoul’s works, but to the enduring influence that dreams have had in his career since starting to paint 25 years ago. Essential to the artist’s work is the universality of dreaming, and the dream’s potential for multiple interpretations. For Dahoul, every event is a repetition of another past moment. Examining a diverse range of subjects, his canvases feature images that recur and evolve while remaining essentially unchanged. This body of work is the first series of paintings the artist created since leaving Damascus for Dubai last year.
Working in a predominantly monochromatic palette, the artist uses black and grey to suggest deep hollows of space. Echoing the absence of vibrant colours, these muted tones also offer a reflection of Dahoul’s personal life when living in his native Syria.
These paintings often contain a cinematic quality, and the nature and history of dream sequences in cinema are an influence on the artist. Dahoul has recently expanded his practice to experiment with the medium of film, directly engaging with notions of evolution, time and repetition through introducing a durational element.