Saturday, January 14, 2017

Illusions by Bryan Dawe - Exhibition Review

This week saw the opening in Tangier of "Illusions" - an exhibition of works by Australian Bryan Dawe. Held at the Volubilis Gallery in the Kasbah, it was attended by a large and enthusiastic crowd of art lovers from around the world. The View From Fez attended the opening and reports...

Cafe Hafa

It is a tribute to artist Bryan Dawe that people have travelled from as far away as Australia to attend the opening of his exhibition of photo-montage works in Tangier.

Holding an exhibition in Tangier is something not undertaken lightly. The logistics are challenging and most sane people would view Bryan’s tenacity as audacious. However, having spent a lot of time in Morocco in both Fez and Tangier, Bryan has grown to love and understand Moroccan culture and its people. Recognising this, local Moroccans were more than happy to assist him in every way. It was notable that almost half the large audience at his opening were Moroccans.

Detail of  "Princess and Queen of Tangier"
Bryan Dawe - too many balloons are never enough

In Australia Bryan is known and respected, not only as half of the long standing comedy duo Clarke and Dawe, who satirise politicians weekly on national television, but also as the President of the National Troublemaker’s Union; an actor, writer, activist and all-round renaissance man.  While not being widely known as an artist, the success of this exhibition should go a long way to changing that.

The Volubilis Gallery

Bryan’s "Illusions" exhibition provides an extraordinary vision of Tangier. Not once was he lured into orientalism or simplistic outsider’s views of the city. Instead, he has pried open the doors of perception and allowed the ghosts of Tangier's past to roam free. It is a wild, magical, surrealistic tribute to the city and the longer you spend with these images the more powerful they become.

Trapeze Girl

From these works, images emerge of the famous and infamous figures from literature and art who were drawn to Tangier. The city was a magnet for people such as William S. Burroughs, Jane and Paul Bowles, Ginsburg, Ira Cohen, Barbara Hutton, Mohammed Choukri, Brion Gysin and many more.

There is an underlying dark nostalgia in some of the works; in others there is confirmation of what those who understand Bryan know – his strong belief that too many hot air balloons are never enough.

The exhibition is open for the next month and is well worth a trip to Tangier


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