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Damascenes, Khaldoun Chichakli

Installation view at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2015

Those who have seen Damascus in the good old days are sure to get goose bumps when they look at the drawings and woodcuts in Khaldoun Chichakli’s first solo show in Dubai, “Damascenes”. And even those who have not been there will be overwhelmed by the beauty and history of the city that comes through so clearly in the artworks.

The septuagenarian artist has lovingly recreated minute details of the city’s architecture, everyday scenes on the streets and souks, and the ethos of the place as it was during his childhood and youth. Amid the destruction and devastation wrought by the political turmoil in his country, Chichakli’s artworks are a poignant reminder of a bygone era.

In his intricately detailed woodcuts, the artist has created delicate lines using the techniques and tools of the diamond cutters of Belgium, where he studied and lived in the 1980s. The works depict rural life in Syria, vendors in the souk, the various stages and experiences in the journey of life, and a look at what happens behind the walls in a city.

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