THE BREAKDOWN: Safwan Dahoul — ‘Dream 179’

THE BREAKDOWN: Safwan Dahoul — ‘Dream 179’
1 / 2
Safwan Dahoul's ‘Dream 179.’ (Image supplied)
THE BREAKDOWN: Safwan Dahoul — ‘Dream 179’
2 / 2
Dubai-based Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul. (Image supplied)
Short Url
Updated 18 September 2020

THE BREAKDOWN: Safwan Dahoul — ‘Dream 179’

THE BREAKDOWN: Safwan Dahoul — ‘Dream 179’
  • Dahoul’s ‘Dreams’ are currently available to view online at Ayyam Gallery.

DUBAISyrian artist Safwan Dahoul discusses one of his series of emotive paintings entitled ‘The Awakening’ — a continuation of the ‘Dream’ series he began in the late Eighties. 

The theme of my work has always been the human condition. A human, as they say, endures everything — sadness, happiness, longing, and the dream. I’ve said that I’m somewhat like a person who holds an invisible camera, capturing the human moments of a person. In the end, this person could be me. With this camera, I would like to document, in all possibilities, the life of this person.

I feel that one of the rights of an artist is to defend a thought he wishes to express without justifying it, even though others may disagree with him. Many people have (pointed out) that I don’t color my paintings. A person is the (product) of his environment — whether geographical, political or social. And in recent years, I haven’t been able to paint with colors. In my opinion, the reason for that is that I want to be a true observer of my surroundings as a Syrian and an artist, and there has been no space for color in the period I’m living in. As time went by, colors became duller in my mind.

The titles of my previous exhibitions were “Dream” or “Still Dreaming,” so I wanted to use something different and I chose “The Awakening.” In our lives, we are currently not dreaming — even before they started talking about the coronavirus. I found myself disrupting the sense of time, the human, and crumpling the content of my canvas, a task that was time-consuming and demanding — physically and technically.

If I date my painting with the year 2020, then it should portray the essence of this timeframe. So, it’s as if I’m depicting someone who belongs to a time when we’ve all been trapped in our homes. What I would like to say is that something inside us all has changed due to this confinement. I consider myself to be a witness and my paintings are a testament; they should truthfully reflect the now and the time I’m living in.