A Picture Of Poetry The Artist's Books of Dia al-Azzawi

Edited by Louisa Macmillan


In this catalogue, the enormous and eclectic collection of Dia al-Azzawi’s artist’s books is being published for the first time. Have you ever wondered what sound looks like? How would you paint a song, draw a story or sculpt the spoken word?

Inspired by his love of listening to Arabic poetry, Dia al-Azzawi has made over 100 dafatir (artist’s books) in his distinctive visual style over more than half a century. This eclectic collection contains Azzawi’s emotional responses to recited poems, written novels, media coverage of global events and personal memories, here published in full for the first time.
Expanding upon early experiments with combined text and image, A Picture of Poetry contains every artwork conceived by Azzawi in the form of a book. These range from early works on paper to limited-edition printed books and later three-dimensional works, blurring the line between other artforms (drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures) and dafatir, thereby reinventing the medium while embodying many of the distinctive features of Azzawi’s work as a whole.

This catalogue also features essays by Francesca Leoni, Nada Shabout and Wen-chin Ouyang, translations of Azzawi’s own writing (by Saleem Al-Bahloly) and excerpts of the literature that inspired him to make these extraordinary dafatir. Although these artworks would inspire a generation of younger Iraqi artists to create their own dafatir in times of crisis and adversity, this collection remains a lesser-known, private side of Azzawi’s practice that has never been seen in its entirety before.


Book contains: 332 pages.

Dimensions: 24 x 28cm