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Syrian War Obsession Reveals Creativity in Clay Sculpture of Syrian Artist, Khaled Dawwa


Khaled Dawwa, born in 1985 received in 2011 for his project ‘Clay and Knife’ widespread attention. His interest in sculpture is right from his childhood and he is using raw clay to explore human conditions. Dawwa’s signature figures appear at times oppressive and malevolent, while sometimes they are full of pathos as though they outcry against injustice.

Khaled Dawwa says as a child he used to create new things using things available at home. He was highly influenced by his mother. She had the ability of creating much from home decorations, clothes, and toys, even as she was cooking. The creativity and innovation sense had huge impact over him, and his parents were supportive of his artistic skills development. Dawwa tells there are characters that traveled from Syria to France. Dawwa was happy he could create things using things around and so it was harmonious.

Dawwa began at the Faculty of Fine Arts his studies in Damascus. He did not plan studying sculpture, but made sense in the study of material and mass. He worked so that he could support his studies, yet he was incapable of acquiring the professional tools required for sculpting. Thus, he resorted to primitive and simpler methods for his tools.

Dawwa’s relationship with mass began as a sculptural concept in his graduation project. As a sculptor, Dawwa found social media helpful where he began his deep sculpture relationship as a way of raising his voice as act of resistance. He reached over the internet to a diverse audience.

Born in 1985 in Masyaf, Syria, Dawwa acquired his graduation from the School of Fine Arts of Damascus focusing sculpture. Dawwa presented his works at his school and at the French Cultural Center of Damascus. In 2011early, he participated in the creation and implementation of the Al Boustan workshop, that compelled him to flee to Lebanon in 2013, and he lived for one year clandestinely. He created and promoted his art through Facebook page, “Clay & Knife”. At 2014 end, he claimed asylum in France and began working again publicly.

In Paris you get to see Khaled Dawwa’s artwork at many places in and around the city. He is participating in Beautify Paris, this year in June. Right now, he is a part of Reprise at the International City of Arts, a group showing up through July 10, and it is in the process of film making about the artworks.

His project is an inspiration of living in different places during a short period: detention and compulsory military service for four months, in Damascus, then in Lebanon for a year and arriving finally to France. At first, on arriving in France, there was a liberated feel. Then it dawned that the French lived their lives in a complex system turning them into “compressed people” and this was common. This was the first series where he looks at people beyond Syria.

Khaled Dawwa presents a unique approach. He expresses his solidarity with clay with people suffering to claim freedom. Through “Debout”, a generic figure in his statuettes, he interprets powerfully the tyranny of Bashar-el-Assad, destroyer of his own country. He reveals that he and his family suffered until exile. Designed in clay, his statuettes are now transformed in bronze. It now has mixed materials and a large scale.

Khaled Dawwa Clay Sculpture








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