Six British artists display in Damascus for the first time in 40 years
Syria-UK, Culture, 11/8/2000
This November will see the opening of an exhibition of recent work by six British artists, currently teaching in Coventry University and elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
However, it is understood from the Syrian records that this will be the first exhibition of UK art in Damascus for some forty years. The exhibition will take place on November 11- 24 in the al-Assad Library, courtesy of the Syrian Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the British Council in Damascus.
The artists exhibiting include John Devane, Ian hays, Jill Journeaux, Sarah Mulhall, George Sherlock and Karen Truselle, Jill Journeauux is currently the Head of the Visual Arts Departments in Coventry University. All of the artists involved are well established and have all exhibited internationally in countries such as France, Portugal, Brazil, Ireland, Germany and the USA. Indeed, they are all have work in a wide range of both public and private collections in those countries .
The works on show at this exhibition will range in scale from large paintings to small drawings and encompass a wide range of approaches, interests and content which reflect current debates in British art.
Works will be in a range of materials and processes including painting, drawing, printmaking and computer aided digital images.
The event has grown from a residency undertaken by Syrian artist, Professor Abdul Karim Faraj at Coventry University from November 1998 until February 1999. This residency was arranged and supported by the University of damascus and the British council.
During his residency, professor Faraj produced a large series of fine art prints using etching, mixed media and serigraphic processes. These were exhibited in Coventry University 's own Lanchester Gallery and subsequently at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London at a British Council Islamic Art Launch. Professor Faraj also presented the University with copies of his prints which are on display in the main University entrance area and the vice Chancellor 's office as well as in the Faculty of Art and Design. His visit proved extremely successful and was highly valued by both staff and students at Coventry. Professor Faraj was the first artist from the University of Damascus to undertake post- doctoral research in the United Kingdom.
His journey to Coventry and his interest in the peculiarities and complexities of that city is now mirrored by the journey that the work of British artists will make to Damascus.
From its simple beginning, this ground-breaking exhibition will bring together both the Syrian Ministries of Culture and Higher Education in a single venture to promote this cultural exchange between the two countries. It is proposed that a twin exhibition will be set up involving the artists names above, plus artists chosen from the Faculty of Arts at damascus University, who will exhibit works simultaneously in the Assad Library, offering the Syrian public a direct insight into current work from both cultures.
The British Council hopes that this exhibition which will lead to similar exhibitions in the future.
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