Syrian-born Safwan Dahoul explores the physical and psychological effects of alienation and solitude in his figurative paintings. Born in 1961 in Hama, Dahoul’s ongoing Dream series is partially autobiographical. His work is thought to recreate a subconscious impetus towards drawing inwards that takes place during times of crisis, whether it be in mourning or political conflict. His contorted female protagonist, who is a recurring figure in the series, is freed from any known location. These ambiguous paintings are currently on show at Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, until May 21st, 2016. Dahoul was initially trained by leading modernists at the University of Damascus before travelling to Belgium, where he earned a doctorate. He later became a prominent member of the Damascus art scene. Photo: From the Dream series. Safwan Dahoul. 180 x 200 cm. Acrylic on canvas 2015. © Safwan Dahoul. Photo courtesy of Ayyam Gallery, Dubai.
Brazilian-born Tiago Carneiro da Cunha has made a body foray into painting in his latest body of work, Trânsito dos Infernos (Transit through Hell). The artist, who has gained a reputation in the past for his sculptures and video work, has made a body of oil paintings that are the result of four years’ research. These intense, sensual works evoke dramatic landscapes and characters using a simple, unmixed palette. Though innately recognizable, these scenes are also exotic, fantastical – and in their strangeness, disconcerting. The artist was born in São Paulo in 1973 and now lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. He started out drawing comics that was published in underground magazines in Sao Paolo, before working as a freelance illustrator for the Folha de S. Paolo newspaper. He later went on to study art at the Parsons School in New York and Goldsmiths College in London. Tiago Carneiro da Cunha’s paintings are currently on show at Galeria Fortes Vilaca in Sao Paolo. The exhibition Trânsito dos Infernos brings together 20 oil paintings. Photo: Noite …
Aida Mahmudova’s tender paintings address memory and nostalgia. The Azeri artist, born in Baku in 1982, draws her inspiration from the landscape and architecture of her native Azerbaijan. She works across installation, sculpture and painting to capture forgotten corners of a country that is fast developing and is in danger of forgetting its past. Her work also deals with the friction between reality and fiction, and the impermanence of identity. Her sense of ephemerality can be gleaned from the gentle layering of these works. As well as being an artist, Mahmudova — a niece of the president of Azerbaijan –is an important figure in Azerbaijan’s small but growing arts scene. To continue reading, please subscribe to the September/October 2015 issue here, or by searching for The Kurios App on your mobile device. Photo credit: Aida Mahmudova. The neighbours. 2015. Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy Leila Heller Gallery.
Zimbabwean-born Virginia Chihota makes highly introspective work that occupies a place between dream and reality. The quietly striking works showcased in the following pages are from her series munzwa munyama yangu (A Thorn in my Flesh). Her expressive paintings result from a mixture of screen-printing and ink on paper, and the artist has said she finds inspiration in solitude. Chihota moved to Triploli, Libya, in 2012 and has spoken of how the culturally isolated experience of living in a foreign culture has fuelled her work. Continue reading about Virginia Chihota in the July/August issue of The Kurios. Photo: Virginia Chihota, The Root of the Flower we do not Know, screenprint on paper, 2014. Courtesy of Tiwani Contemporary.
In Boris Nzebo’s multi-layered works, human heads merge with urban cityscapes. These boldly coloured and patterned works evoke the visual dynamism of a West African city. Born in 1979 in Gabon, Nzebo now lives and works in Cameroon. He draws his subject matter from his hometown of Douala, where he is particularly inspired by the elaborate hairstyles of locals, which often feature as hand-painted advertising illustrations in West African beauty parlours. To continue reading about Boris Nzebo and see more images of his work, read the July/August issue of The Kurios. Photo: © Boris Nzebo. Photo courtesy of Saatchi Gallery, London.
The Indian artist NS Harsha draws on a broad range of influences including Indian artistic and figurative painting traditions and popular arts, as well as western art. His quietly philosophical practice mixes personal experience with shared narratives and broader socio-political themes. The artist has described the process of producing these works as ‘chanting’ with forms, as though the process of making them were a musical composition. He has also said that the intensity of life in India, which has one of the largest populations in the world, constantly forces him to think about human form. To read more about NS Harsha and see more images of his work, subscribe to the May/June issue of The Kurios. Photo: NS Harsha, Mooing here and now (detail), 2014. Courtesy NS Harsha and Victoria Miro, London. © NS Harsha.
The first solo show of the Ivorian artist Yéanzi is taking place at Cécile Fakhoury Gallery in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In Yéanzi’s mixed media paintings, he blends together successive layers of press cuttings onto canvas. He then melts plastic on top to form human images. The result is ambiguous and powerful imagery. Yéanzi is featured in the May/June issue of The Kurios, out now. Get your copy here. Photo courtesy of Cécile Fakhoury Gallery