ضياء العزاوي

Dia Al-Azzawi was born in Baghdad in 1939, he started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962.

In 1969, Azzawi (with Rafa Nasiri, Mohammad Muhriddin, Ismail Fattah, Hachem al-Samarchi and Saleh al Jumaie) formed the New Vision group (al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. Through his involvement with the New Vision group Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of the Palestinians. He was also briefly a member of Shakir Hassan Al Said’s One Dimension group (Jama’t al-Bu’d al-Wahid).

From 1968 to 1976, Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he served as art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre, from 1977 to 1980. Azzawi’s move to London led him to rediscover book art (dafatir), an art form that he has encouraged other artists from Iraq and the region to explore.

With exhibitions of his work held his art features in international private and public collections including the Museums of Modern Art in Baghdad, Damascus and Tunis; Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia; Una Foundation, Casablanca; Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi; Development Fund, Kuwait; Jeddah International Airport; British Museum, Tate Modern, and Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Institut du Monde Arabe, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and Colas Foundation, Paris; Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy; Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona; and Library of Congress and the World Bank, Washington, DC.


1965 -Al-Wasiti Gallery, Baghdad

1966 -Gallery One, Beirut

1969-Sultan Gallery, Kuwait

1973-Gallery Raslan, Tripoli, Lebanon

1975-Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad

1976-Gallery Nadhar, Casablanca

1977-Sultan Gallery, Kuwait

1978-Patrick Seale Gallery, London

1980-Galerie Faris, Paris

Galerie Centrale, Geneva

1981-Art Basel, Galerie Faris, Paris

FIAC, Galerie Faris, Paris

1982-Intercontinental Hall, Abu Dhabi

1983-Sabra and Shatila, National Council for Art and Culture Gallery, Kuwait

1984-Alif Gallery, Washington, DC

1986-Royal Cultural Centre, Amman 

1988-Galerie Claudine Planque, Lausanne

1990-Alif Gallery, Washington, DC

Galleri Nakita, Stockholm

Vanazff Gallery, Gothenburg

Galerie des Art, Tunis

Galerie 50x70, Beirut

1992-Flandria Gallery, Tangier


Al-Manar Gallery, Casablanca

Ab’aad Gallery, Amman

Galerie 50x70, Beirut

Al-Sayed Gallery, Damascus 

1995-Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

1996-Art Centre, Bahrain

2002-Azzawi Retrospective, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

2003-Palestine and Mahmoud Darwish: Large Polyptychs, Drawings, Prints and Books, Cité du Livre, Aix-en-Provence

2004-Recent Paintings, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

St’Art - Strasbourg Art Fair, Galerie Claude Lemand, Strasbourg


Prints and Sculptures, 4 Walls Gallery, Amman

New Prints, Kalemmat Gallery, Aleppo

New Paintings, Dar Al-Funoon Gallery, Kuwait

New Prints, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris 


Retrospective, ADMAF, Sixth Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Recent Paintings, Meem Gallery, Dubai

A Retrospective Collection: Works from 1979 to 2007, Espace Claude Lemand, Paris


Facing History: Dia al-Azzawi and Leon Golub, Tate Modern, London

Elegy To My Trapped City, Meem Gallery, Dubai

Dia Al-Azzawi, Oriental Gardens, Recent Paintings, Espace Claude Lemand, Paris


Bilad al-Sawad and Other Works, Art Paris, Grand Palais, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

2014-Frieze Masters, Meem Gallery, London

2015-Something Different: Sculpture and Tapestry, Meem Gallery, London



Arab Monetary Fund, Abu Dhabi

Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

British Museum, London

Arab Development Fund, Kuwait

Fondation Colas, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris

Gulbenkian Collection, Barcelona

Harba Collection, Iraq and Italy

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

Jeddah International Airport

Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman

Kinda Foundation, Saudi Arabia

Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad

Museum of Modern Art, Damascus

Museum of Modern Art, Tunis

The Saudi Bank, London

Una Foundation, Casablanca

The United Bank of Kuwait, London

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Tate Modern, London

The World Bank, Washington, DC


1967-First International Triennial, New Delhi 

1971-Contemporary Arab Art, National Museum, Nicosia

1975-Seventh International Painting Festival, Cagnes-sur-Mer

International Summer Academy, Salzburg

1976-Second Arab Art Biennial, São Paulo

1980-Salon de Mat, Paris

FIAC, Galerie Faris, Paris

Salon d’Automne, Espace Cardin, Paris 

1981-Seventh International Grafik Triennial, Frechen

1984-British International Print Biennial, Bradford

First Arab Contemporary Art Exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, Tunis

1985-Musée Hubert d’Uckerman, Grenoble


Salon Comparaisons, Grand Palais, Paris

Semitic Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Contemporary Arab Art, The Mall Gallery, London

1987-Third International Biennial Exhibition, Taiwan


Olympiad of Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul

Azzawi, Jumaie, Nasiri, Kufa Gallery, London


Contemporary Art from the Islamic World, Barbican Centre, London

Arab Graphic Art, NCCL, Kuwait

1997-Five Visual Interpretations, Green Art Gallery, Dubai

1998-Azzawi & Nasiri, Galerie La Teinturerie, Paris

2001-Machreq - Maghreb: Paintings and Books, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

2002-The Kinda Foundation Collection, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris

2003-Fondation Colas, Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris

Broken Letter, Contemporary Art from Arab Countries, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Darmstadt 

2004-Art Books and Painting, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris


Homage to Shafic Abboud, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, University of North Texas Art Gallery, Denton, Texas

Improvisation: Seven Iraqi Artists, Bissan Gallery, Doha, Al-Riwaq Gallery, Manama, and 4 Walls Gallery, Amman


Portraits of the Bird, Festival of Arts, Bastia, Corsica

Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, British Museum, London

Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota; Minnesota Centre for Book Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota; University of Texas, El Paso, Texas; Daura Gallery, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia


Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, The Centre for Book Arts, New York; Minneapolis Athenaeum, Minneapolis, Minnesota; NIU Art Museum, DeKalb, Illinois; The Jaffe Centre for Book Arts, Boca Raton, Florida


Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East, British Museum, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai

Iraq’s Past Speaks to the Present, British Museum, London

Iraqi Artists in Exile, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas

Dafatir. Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, Denison University, Granville, Ohio


Modernism and Iraq, Columbia University, Wallach Art Gallery, New York


Dia Al-Azzawi and Parviz Tanavoli, Abu Dhabi Art, Meem Gallery, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

My Home Land, Art Sawa, Dubai

Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha

Interventions: A Dialogue Between the Modern and the Contemporary, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha


Art in Iraq Today: Part IV, Meem Gallery, Dubai

Art in Iraq Today: Conclusion, Solidere, Beirut Art Center, Beirut and Meem Gallery, Dubai

Elegy To My Trapped City, Abu Dhabi Art, Meem Gallery, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

Mashreq Maghreb: Paintings, Sculptures and Prints, CAP, Kuwait


Meem Projects 2012. Part 1: Letters in Art. Part 2: Modern Arab Art, Meem Gallery, Abu Dhabi Art, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi


Meem Projects 2013. Part 1: Modern Arab Art. Part 2: Contemporary Arab Art – How Do You Sleep At Night?, Meem Gallery, Abu Dhabi Art, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi

Modern Iraqi Art: A Collection, Meem Gallery, Dubai

Tajreed (Abstract Arab Art), CAP, Kuwait

Painting, Sculptures and Projects Garden, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha


Children of Gaza (in benefit of Salam ya Seghar in partnership with Save the Children), Meem Gallery, Dubai

Post-Picasso: Contemporary Reactions, Museu Picasso, Barcelona

Arab Modernities, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

Art Paris, Grand Palais, Galerie Claude Lemand, Paris

Sky Over the East: Works from the Collection of Barjeel Art Foundation, International Museum Day, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, Abu Dhabi


Picasso in Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany

Picasso.Mania, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France




Dia Azzawi
Iraqi artist Dia Azzawi's take on political h
Meet Dia Azzawi
Dia Azzawi's extraordinary art
Dia Azzawi
الفنان العراقي ضياء العزاوي يفتتح معرضه "أنا
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