Iraqi-British Dubai-based artist Heitham Adjina tackles the philosophical and aesthetic wonders of time, place and humanity through his poignant paintings rife with allegorical symbolism. An architect practising in Dubai, London and Baghdad for over 40 years, Adjina has been behind some of the most prominent architectural structures in the region. These include collaborations with Norman Foster as well the Opus, which he worked on with Zaha Hadid. Through his paintings, which have been exhibited previously in London and Baghdad, Adjina marries the structures that inhabit our world with the more subjective meanderings of human consciousness. Pivotal scenes evoking the meaning of life, love, family, poverty, despair and hope are revealed through works that delicately strike a balance between the individual human being and the edifices in which one dwells. “Even while studying architecture I was always involved in art,” says the artist. “Both go together. I cannot divorce one from the other.” Behind each structured form with their inherent bold use of colour and expression is emotion.
“These works are about life,” says Heitham. “There’s always an emotion within these structural forms.” Regular motifs like the window, a symbol of “freedom” according to the artist, or the moon, which he says has always been “something emotional and magical—something that indicates what we have left behind”, can be found in multiple paintings. “I feel some people are born without a choice and this has influenced my thinking,” says the artist. “Why can’t we give these people the chance of a choice? My work aims to transcend this, to offer something that goes beyond.” The works on view at Heitham’s first exhibition in Dubai demonstrate the choice we all have to transcend daily obstacles and contemplate the beauty of existence.