Dia Al-Azzawi speaks about Art & Poetry:
At the beginning, my area of specialization was archeology. The human feelings present in Sumerian texts are identical to those of today. Every text is simultaneously of its time and of all times. I found a support for my feelings in Arab poetry, which is linguistically so dense and visually so rich. In the artists’ books, the painter adds a visual dimension to the text’s literary and conceptual dimension. Let us not forget that painted manuscripts represent a large part of the cultural heritage passed on by Arab civilization. Literary texts helped me to elaborate and invent my pictorial symbols. In my paintings, the bird stands for freedom, travelling and exile. The horse symbolizes heroism and the mission, Ahmad the Arab from Mahmoud Darwish is the ‘hero’ also found in Sabra and Chatila… he pursues me everywhere and always. These symbols helped me to synthetize my plastic visions, a fundamental aspect in my creativity.
I like to hear poetry, not to read it. The poem is like a song. The poems read by Mahmoud Darwish, Yusuf Al-Sayegh or Nizar Qabbani spiritually enhance you, visually stimulate you, and you no longer pay attention to the language.
Sometimes, it is through paintings that I discover the meaning of a literary text. Unfortunately, many poets often lack of visual culture.
The writing is often a simple document. When it is integrated within a work of art, it gains an important aesthetic power. Yet often the letter obeys more to the calligrapher’s logic, rather than to the artist’s. The letter is uni- not multi-dimensional.
Translated from French by Valérie Hess.
Portfolios of original Prints, inspired by Poetry:
1. Seven Golden Odes, 1979. (8 original silkscreens).
2. The Body’s Anthem, 1980. (16 original silkscreens).
3. We Are Not Seen But Corpses, 1983. (8 original etchings).
4. One Thousand and one Night, 1986. (27 original lithographs and etchings).
5. Al-Jawahiri Verses, 1989. (10 original lithographs).
6. Adonis, 1990. (5 original lithographs).
7. The Crane, 1990. (10 original lithographs).
8. Nuzhat Zaman, 1990. (9 original lithographs).
9. The book of Love, 1994. (9 original lithographs).
10. The will of Life, 1994. (6 original silkscreens).
11. Cities of Salt, 1994. (6 original silkscreens).
12. Portrait de l’Oiseau-Qui-N’Existe-Pas, 2005. (22 original digital prints).
13. Portrait de l’Oiseau-Qui-N’Existe-Pas, 2005. (8 original digital prints).
14. Al-Mutanabbi Prints, 2006. (4 original digital prints).
15. Al-Mutanabbi Portfolio, 2007. (8 original digital prints).