Ayyam Gallery presents 10:52, a collective exhibition that commemorates the tenth anniversary of its founding. Highlighting all fifty-two artists who have had solo shows at its different locations in the past decade, this selection of works reflects Ayyam Gallery’s evolution as one of the leading art spaces in the Middle East and North Africa.
Presented at the gallery’s Alserkal outposts in Dubai, 10:52 features painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, and installation work by some of the region’s foremost names in art. Included among this multigenerational lineup are modernist Leila Nseir, sculptor Moustafa Ali, painter Samia Halaby, photographer Rula Halawani, and conceptualist Rashed Al Shashai.
Since its inception, Ayyam Gallery has sought to support the region’s creative talent through innovative projects such as the Shabab Ayyam incubator programme for young artists, which launched the careers of featured painters Kais Salman and Mohannad Orabi. More recently, Ayyam Gallery has created an artist residency in Dubai that is structured around a similar form of mentorship. This has been in tandem with a strong focus on the history of contemporary Arab and Iranian aesthetics, resulting in curated exhibitions and over eighty publications to date.
A chronology of Syrian Expressionism, for example, is detailed in the paintings and drawings of Youssef Abdelke, Asaad Arabi, Asma Fayoumi, Safwan Dahoul, and Tammam Azzam, while influential experiments in abstraction are not only identified in the compositions of the late Moustafa Fathi but also in the canvases of Abdullah Murad and Thaier Helal.
The increasing importance of photography and conceptual art worldwide and how Ayyam Gallery’s programming has bolstered these developments is evident in the inclusion of a number of artists. The role of photography as a representation of modern life is reimagined in the images of Sama Alshaibi and Lara Zankoul. Similarly, new approaches to conceptual art are evident in the works of Khaled Jarrar and Ammar Al Beik, who reconfigure or reference ordinary objects in order to reveal the dystopian sides of certain political realities.
The diverse roster of 10:52 reflects a timeline of initiatives that have distinguished Ayyam Gallery as an arts organisation, from its launch in Damascus as a multi-platform space for Syrian art to its most recent programming in Beirut and Dubai, which includes retrospectives for pioneering Arab painters, and the debut of highly anticipated artist projects.