Tammam Azzam’s creations put forth an image of Syria, his native home, throughout the turmoil and changes which it has undergone over the past few years. Though perhaps unintentionally, Azzam has been able to document its evolution from beginning tensions of unrest to the aftermath created on both the country’s physical landscape and his own personal journey he was forced to embark on.
Through these changes, his approach to his practice has also undergone transformations. Most notably, the evolution of his Laundry series illustrates his ever deepening exploration of media and representation. Hinting at the Arab idiom “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public”, Azzam explores the visual possibilities of depiction, while suggesting the country should resolve their issues neatly and quietly at home before having them aired in public.
Upon relocating to Dubai at the outbreak of the war, Azzam’s practice took an unexpected turn. With neither the time nor space for a full time artistic practice, Azzam began working with digital media. From this, was born the Syrian Museum series, which rose him to international recognition after his piece, Freedom Graffiti went viral. This series, along with others produced at the time, makes reference to both the beauty and destruction human kind is capable of creating.
Whether it be a longing for city escapes present in Metalica, or a chronologising of his own journey seen through his evolving use of colours, each series reflects key stages in the artist’s life. His latest Paper Series, returns to the ideas playing between reality and abstraction, originally seen in his debuting Horizon series. A build up from his past ten years of experience, this series demonstrates the lasting influences of his experimentations. Bringing forth the study of new horizons from the perspective of a matured artist, the Paper series bridges together Azzam’s entire body of work, while demonstrating his talent for refinement in the face of abstraction and restraint in the face of reality.