The exhibition titled New, includes the artwork of Omar Ibrahim – Syria, Rabee Kiwan – Syria, Lee Simmons – UK, Ola Ståhl – Sweden. 

The exhibition is curated by Lee Simmons, who first met Rabee Kiwan and Omar Ibrahim in Beirut in 2012 and 2013, and Ola Stahl in London in 2006. The informal friendships and working relationships have led to this unlikely group show, bringing together oil paintings from Rabee Kiwan, ink drawing and mixed media painting from Omar Ibrahim, painting and installation from Lee Simmons, and an artist book from Ola Ståhl. 

It can be considered unusual for these artists to show together, with such differing practices and backgrounds. A thread running through, of the human body, the city, growth, and loss combined with current circumstances has allowed for this patchwork to evolve. Lee Simmons and Ola Ståhl have a long-standing interest in urban development, and Rabee Kiwan and Omar Ibrahim continue to paint whilst living away from their base in Damascus due to the on-going conflict in Syria. Omar Ibrahim is now living and working in Paris, exhibiting regularly with local artists. Rabee Kiwan exhibits worldwide with support from Mark Hachem Gallery. 

Omar Ibrahim graduated from the Sculpture Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 2002. His work often depicts the female body, and how it changes with societal pressure, and also the city – which he depicts as a horse, often entangled in wire. The works share something of his feeling in response to the conflict in Syria.

“It’s not something that you want to go through. It just pushes out of you. This is who you are in this part of your life. You cannot just draw flowers or beautiful women if you are living in this atmosphere.”

Rabee Kiwan graduated from the Painting Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 2008. He participated in group exhibitions at Arab and French Cultural Centre, Opera House and Annual Spring Exhibition in Damascus from 2009 to 2012. Since 2010 his works have been shown at Kuzah Gallery in Damascus; since 2013 Mark Hachem Gallery has been exhibiting Kiwan’s works. 

“The main element of my work is the human figure in all its states and manifestations. Since the beginning of my career, I took inspiration from the observation of reality, trying to imitate it in the composition of my works, at the same time playing with the material in an expressive manner” 

As time has passed Kiwan’s paintings incorporate increasingly muted colours, with the piecing together of previous materials, and use imagery from his passport. 

“At the beginning of my experience, I used to believe that my identity was built by myself alone. But it is now clear that my identity has become everyone’s possession”.

Lee Simmons graduated from the Fine Art department of Liverpool John Moore’s University in 2000 (Ba Hons), Art and Design, Chelsea London Institute in 2004 (Masters) and Art Psychotherapy department, Goldsmiths University of the Arts London in 2011 (Masters). 
Included in this exhibition is her most recent painting of a cityscape. 

“The group of buildings look a bit like a tooth that has been removed, and they could be anywhere”. 

Simmons put the exhibition together having met the artists at different points in their lives and on detecting shared interests concerned with painting, politics and the city to further explore. She will also be developing her installation art in the project space, which includes singer Emily Churchill Zaraa.

Ola Ståhl holds a PhD and an MA from the Department of Fine Art, Art History and Cultural Studies at The University of Leeds and a BA (Hons) in the History of Art, Design and Film from Sheffield Hallam University. He has exhibited and performed internationally since the late 1990s. Currently, a Senior Lecturer in the Theory and History of Art and Design at the Department for Design, Linnaeus University, Sweden, he has previously taught at London College of Communication and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Ståhl is an artist and writer interested in art and politics, he will present an artist book that deals with issues around gentrification, thus responding, in a way, to the site itself. 

NEW Preview: Thursday 1st October 6-9.30pm.

The exhibition will be open from 12-3pm Wednesday, Thursday and weekends, from 3rd October 2015 to Sunday 18th October. At ‘no format’ gallery – Second Floor Studios & Arts, Harrington Way, Woolwich, London, SE18 5NR.

Duration 01 October 2015 - 18 October 2015
Times NEW: Preview Thursday 1st October 6-9.30pm. The exhibition will be open from 12-3pm Wednesday, Thursday and weekends, from 3rd October 2015 to Sunday
Cost Free
Venue No Format
Address Second Floor Studios & Arts London SE18 5NR, ,
Contact +44(0) 770 421 9009 / /

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