From March 19 to April 26, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai (DIFC) will present Othman Moussa’s first solo exhibition, ‘The Throne’. Upholding his superb draughtsmanship and influences of seventeenth-century Dutch realism, Moussa’s new works veer away from traditional still life painting of inanimate objects within Syrian life that quietly and poetically speak to the viewer, to a form of still life that shouts. Beautifully rendered, an oriental carpet covers a heavily draped armchair. It is the objects that occupy this throne, which present a satirical, subdued political commentary.
Draping oriental carpets over the thrones places the realm of kingdoms under scrutiny within the Middle East. Though the majority of works are comprised of the same elaborately motifed carpet with only minor color differences, one work stands dramatically on its own. A bold red, simply designed carpet ascended by a worn-out soldier’s boot covers this throne. Entitled, The King, the viewer may simply interpret this boot-capped throne as any government which controls its people through military dominance. Yet the extreme variation in the composition of this carpet with its rich red field may also symbolize the present bloodshed of the many people and countries engaged in the ‘Arab Spring’, a revolution which sees the people taking up arms against the rulers who have occupied positions of power for too long. Perhaps most poignant and relevant with the present pressures and upheavals of the region is the aptly titled work, The Empty Throne, depicting an abdicated throne.
The other articles occupying the position of power are a butternut squash, an aubergine, a propane tank, a skull, a baby doll, a loaf of bread, and a plucked chicken carcass. The imaginative commentary abounds of leaders whose priorities are driven by oil, countries led by incapable, infantile heads of state, and those who are exposed and lacking courage, with policies indigestible by their constituencies.
‘The Throne’ is an exceptional example of the degree of artistic realism still prevalent in contemporary art, as well as a biting satire of the present-day political ambitions and policies of world leaders.
Born in Zabadani, Syria, a rural town on the outskirts of Damascus, in 1974, Othman Moussa has emerged as Syria’s leading Hyperrealist despite economic hardship. Moussa’s unwavering resolve and artistic prowess led him to a successful partnership with Ayyam Gallery shortly after entering its Shabab Ayyam competition for emerging artists in 2007. A graduate of the Adham Ismail Centre for Plastic Arts and the Walid Izzat Institute for Sculpture in 2000, he began his artistic career by entering group exhibitions in Syria, including three consecutive years of the annual Youth Salon in Damascus.
Since its founding in 2006, Ayyam Gallery has become one of the Middle East’s leading contemporary art spaces. With a selection of cutting-edge painting, sculpture and photography that represents some of the Arab world’s most exciting talent, the gallery has sought to promote the region's dynamic cultural scene at home and abroad.
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