‘His vision is extraordinary. His poetry sublime… He is for me a master of our times’ - V.S. Naipaul on Adonis
This month the Mosaic Rooms, a London based arts space showcasing contemporary Arab culture, pays a special tribute to Adonis, arguably the Middle East's greatest living poet.
The exhibition includes over 100 pieces of the Syrian writer's drawings and is accompanied by a series of literary events exploring Arab culture. Adonis' works layer ink sketches with handwritten poetry in Arabic calligraphy and other objects on paper.
The 82-year-old Goethe prize-winning artist, who was exiled to France after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, is credited with having led the modernist movement in the Arab literary scene, as well as with bringing Arabic poetry into the international arena. Adonis is also known for his critical views on Arab culture, politics and current affairs, most recently sparking debate and controversy on account of his reading of the Arab Spring.
On 3 February the opening of the exhibition was by hosted Khaled Mattawa, a Libyan-American poet who translated an award-winning selection of Adonis’ poetry published in 2010 by Yale University Press.
During the ensuing days of the exhibition, visitors were invited to a number of talks on modern Arab poetry, surrealism and religion in poetry, as well as discussions addressing the role of Arab intellectuals in the regional and international arena. For the Mosaic Rooms, this is one of the most important artistic and literary events of their calendar.
Located in a Victorian townhouse in Kensington, the Mosaic Rooms showcase a rich and varied programme of contemporary artists, filmmakers and writers from or connected to the Arab World.
A project space run by the A.M Qattan Foundation, a UK charity working towards the development of Arab culture and education, Mosaic Rooms have hosted a number of exhibitions and artists. Featured artists in the past have included Antony Gormley, Raja Shehadeh, Hanaa’ Malallah, Mahmoud Darwish and Mona Saudi, as well as younger emerging contemporaries.
The exhibition of Adonis’ works will continue until 30 March at the Mosaic Room.