ATHIER AT BAR
Athier communicates his diasporic experience as an Iraqi raised in London through his canvas, he describes his work as “an outsider’s but insider’s take on how to interact and understand the country”. Traces of Iraq are embedded in Athier’s artwork, however, at the Beirut Art Residency his subjects increasingly reflect his current environment, as he explains; “life comes through the decay which is really beautiful, so that’s visually one of the things that I was most inspired about in Beirut”. His current project conflates the flag and the skewer as a symbol of conquering, however he contests traditional notions of the flag by skewering tattered pieces of fabric from the streets of Beirut; “I wanted to try and skewer decay, and the idea that anything can be conquered by anything. There’s something very unimportant about what goes into the land, and something very unimportant about what the land is”.
Dates of residency: Sep 14- Nov 1, 2015
Lives and Works: Between Paris, London and Istanbul
Education: MA in illustration at Central Saint Martins in London
Bio/Statement: Athier Mousawi is a British Iraqi visual artist whose work over recent years has centered on posing unanswerable questions against undefined answers and forming a visual narrative between the two. Since graduating from Central St. Martins, London in 2007, the subject of much of his work has been Iraq and his diasporic relationship to his intrinsic yet foreign homeland.
Of the main constructs used within Athier's painting the initial response is that of scale and color which guide the viewer through his compositions. Symbolism in these large-scale paintings are weaved through layers of organic figurative and geometric Islamic forms. Large shapes frame moments of detail, acting like windows into another, very personal place, which the viewer is invited into. Although predominantly a painter, his more graphic drawing style uses similar devices of surrounding intense narrative with rigid forms. Separate to his artistic practice, Athier has worked extensively as an educator within the UK and on the field. For three consecutive years from 2007 Athier worked as a British Museum Arab artist in residence working in schools throughout the UK. He was selected as the Chasing Mirrors artist in residence by The National Portrait Gallery for 2011, leading workshops in community centers through London. As well as a major collaborative exhibition, Chasing Mirrors was a platform for educational projects with the gallery, which ran parallel to the three months of the exhibition. In 2012, Athier worked in a number of refugee camps as a workshop leader in Beirut, Istanbul, Amman and Jarash. His work featured in the Christie's May 2012 sale in collaboration with the World Food Program, raising a considerable amount for the organization. Athier lives and works between Paris, London and Istanbul.
Gallery: Ayyam Gallery