Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [05], 2010, Oil on canvas, 45 x 50 cm.

Ayad Sinawi's Ambivalent Fascination with Western Art … in Pictures

Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [14], 2010, Oil on canvas, 45 x 56 cm.

Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [27], 2010, Oil on canvas, 56x61cm.

Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [28], 2010, Oil on canvas, 56 x 61 cm.

Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [25], 2010, Oil on canvas, 66 x 71 cm.


The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
+ 9714 341 1367
Project Space
Knowhere. Ayad Sinawi
April 27-June 16, 2011

Ayad Sinawi presents a series of paintings at The Third Line’s Project space that explore the notions of a Western pictorial and technical tradition from the prism of cultural displacement and nostalgic wanderlust.

Sinawi blends picturesque landscapes with textual fragments or abstract motifs as references to anecdotal memories and spatial associations.

Sinawi’s paintings address artistic practice in relation to institutional expectations of art making — commonly codified by painting’s generational and evolutionary history.

Swapping a critique of art’s institutionalism for an exploration of personal ambivalent fascination towards Western art, Sinawi’s work answers questions of identity politics, biography, and more broadly, of belonging and practicing within an adopted cultural methodology.

His series, and work overall, also focuses on the tension expressed in bringing abstract and objective pictorial sources into painting, and how this tension highlights and confirms the art object as experience, the artist as conduit, and art history as fetish.

Memory, or more aptly, the indirect transference of memory through the second hand nostalgia of cultural adaptation, creates a look and feel in the work that suggest impermanence, creating a sense of wistfulness and longing.

His palette as well as his subject matters is infused by the social artifacts at his disposal, such as old photographs, the vast nature of North America, and his impulse to blend and hybridize the pictorial surface of his work. This is demonstrated in his series of twenty-four paintings of desolate scenery, hills and mountains, blue skies and fields. The addition of words, phrases, and formal interventions, adds that personal and philosophical touch to the barren landscapes of "nowhere."

Ayad Sinawi, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and grew up in the United Kingdom and Canada. He holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from York University in Toronto, Canada, and a Masters of Fine Arts from CUNY Hunter College in New York City. Sinawi has exhibited throughout Canada and the United States since 1985 including McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton and White Columns in New York. He is the recipient of several artist’s and travel grants, both in the U.S. and Canada. He was selected to represent British Columbia in the First Annual Association of Canadian Colleges National Exhibition, and was selected as one of the represented artists for the British Columbia at Expo 86 in Vancouver. He currently lives and works in New York City.

Ayad Sinawi, Untitled (Gerhard Richter), Oil on linen, 34 x 30".

Ayad Sinawi, Untitled (David Salle), Oil on linen, 38 x 32".

Ayad Sinawi, Untitled (Gilbert &.George), Oil on linen, 36 x 30".

Ayad Sinawi, Knowhere [24], 2010, Oil on canvas, 56 x 61 cm.