LONDON.- The Mosaic Rooms
announces a tribute to the Arab worlds greatest living poet, Adonis. From February to March 2012, the Mosaic Rooms hosts an exhibition of Adonis exquisite drawings alongside a series of literary events celebrating his life, poetry and criticism. This is the first solo exhibition of Adonis artwork in the United Kingdom.
Adonis, who is now in his eighties, has been painting and creating works of art for the past 12 years. His pictorial pieces are beautiful collages, made up of rags, yarn, fabric, documents, ancient papyri, used cans, and other found objects that have inspired him. By unifying these materials which belong to different cultures, Adonis aims to give sense to objects that have previously had no significance.
Each collage has a background of Arabic writing, not only used because it is Adonis native language, but also because he considers the language to have an exceptional graphic quality. Through his art work Adonis demonstrates the beauty of the Arabic language, both in its musicality and also in its literal written form. The written word, he says, is a picture in itself.
The Italian artist Marco Nereo Rotelli has previously described Adonis artworks as being like a short story told in an instant. Adonis himself considers the pieces to be an extension of his poetry, defining his art work as poems but in a different form.
Winner of the 2011 Goethe Prize and a favourite for last years Nobel Prize for Literature, Adonis is recognised as the man who led the modernist movement in the Arabic literary scene in the past 50 years and brought Arabic poetry the international recognition it deserved. He is also famous for his critical views on Arab culture, politics and current affairs and even today, at 81years of age, he retains his fresh and critical outlook on the events in his homeland, attracting controversy and debate because of his cautionary and critical worlds on the Arab Spring.
Adonis was born Ali Ahmad Said Esber near the city of Latakia, western Syria, in 1930. He had no formal education for most of his childhood, learning the Quran at the local mosque school and memorising classical Arabic poetry, to which he was introduced by his father. His formal education began after he impressed the then President of Syria as a teenager by reciting one of his poems. He was given a scholarship to a French lycée and went on to study philosophy at Damascus University.
In 1956, he was forced to leave Syria after being imprisoned following his involvement with the Syrian National Socialist Party. He moved to Beirut, Lebanon, and, together with Yusuf al-Khal, set up the legendary Shir (Poetry) magazine, one of the Arab worlds most influential literary journals. Adonis then studied in Paris before returning to Beirut and taking up a post teaching Arabic Literature. In 1982, he and his family relocated to Paris as a result of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and they have remained there until this day.
Adonis work includes over 50 books of poetry, criticism and translation in his native Arabic. His multi-volume anthology of Arabic poetry (Diwan al-shir al-arabi) covers almost two millennia of verse. He has also translated a number of works into Arabic, including the first complete Arabic translation of Ovids Metamorphoses (2002). He has won several awards, including the Goethe Prize in 2011, and has been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature a number of times.