Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b. 1961)
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Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b. 1961)


Safwan Dahoul (Syrian, b. 1961)
signed in Arabic, signed and dated 'DAHOUL 2001' (lower right); signed and titled in Arabic, signed and titled 'DAHOUL Rêve' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
28¾ x 21¼in. (73 x 54cm.)
Painted in 2001
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Kuwait City, Al-Phanar Hall, Safwan Dahoul, 2002.
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Lot Essay

A captivating example from the Rêves series by Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul, the present work painted in 2001 is a delicate portrait of a couple in monochromatic hues.

In his works, Dahoul portrays figures in a dream-like composition, as if to evoke his own dreams and visions of life, hinting at the sad events related to the history of his country and to his personal life, in particular to the passing of his beloved wife. The female protagonist in the centre of this composition impersonates through her silence the agony of a nation; she stands striking, powerful and almost sculptural.

The monochromatic palette used by Dahoul in his paintings emphasises the beauty of the subject matter. Here, Dahoul depicts a couple, where the man appears to surrender, with his eyes shut as if to move away from reality; he appears fearful, trying to catch strength from his beloved. As Dahoul often reveals through his portraits a lyrical and metaphorical depiction of his homeland Syria, the woman becomes an allegory of a nation and fight for freedom. The darkness drags the viewer into the unknown, much like a dream. The figure whose sad expression and vacant eyes suggest her mental evasion is depicted in the spotlight. From the composition emanates a sense of ethereal existence, implying a longing for a never-ending eternity.

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