Knocking on Doors by Sawsan Al Bahar

at CASA CAVEZZI, Montecchio Emilia

Firetti Contemporary proudly presents "Knocking on Doors," a highly anticipated bi-personal exhibition by Sawsan Al Bahar at Casa Cavezzi in Motecchio Emilia, Italy. Curated by Celine Azem, this exhibition is a testament to Al Bahar's exceptional talent and her well-deserved recognition as the winner of "The Massimiliano Galliani Prize for Drawing Under 35." Al Bahar's captivating series of experimental works delve into the intricate process of drawing, showcasing her meticulous draftsmanship and skillful integration of hand and machine, all while embracing the tactile essence of her artistry.

Knocking on Doors unveils a captivating new series of experimental works by Sawsan Al Bahar, an artist deeply engaged in the intricate process of drawing. Al Bahar's artistry is a testament to her commitment to meticulous draftsmanship, skillfully intertwining the hand with the machine while embracing the tactile nature of drawing. 
Al Bahar's practice begins with 3D scans, which she either creates or sources, and then modifies. In this exhibition, she explores her chosen medium in a more experimental manner, utilizing its tangible texture to transform dust into images and objects. Her artistic journey delves into the exploration of composition, form, and plasticity, mirroring her personal quest for home and meaning.
The exhibition centres around Al Bahar's exploration of doors, floors, and spaces found in Syria's cities, particularly Damascus, Aleppo, and Homs. Doors serve as a unifying theme, offering multifaceted interpretations. Some doors are open, while others remain closed, originating from old towns or residential streets. Many bear the scars of war, exhibiting varying degrees of damage. Through the interplay of lines, the absence of color, and the enigmatic quality of the images, Al Bahar heightens the tension between construction and destruction, reality and abstraction. Notably, she pairs a drawing of her grandmother's living room floor with life-sized sculptures crafted from concrete and graphite, capturing the essence of the depicted tiles. Additionally, 3D-printed plates etched with the artist's writing establish a personal connection, fostering conceptual and poetic readings.
Through her exploration of doors, Al Bahar delves into a realm of metaphors, dualities, and polarities. These doors symbolize desires, dreams, hopes, and opportunities, encapsulating the essence of the human experience. Each door embodies a dialectic between the realms of inside and outside, hesitation and temptation, beseechment and welcome, security and freedom, being and non-being.
Al Bahar's drawings act as captivating doorways, granting access to another world where she keenly observes and confronts the city, projecting her own self onto its tapestry. With a profound sensitivity, she seeks out the beauty within ordinary spaces and embarks on an exploration of the dimensions of intimacy.
Knocking on Doors evokes a deep-seated curiosity, a yearning to uncover the hidden stories concealed behind closed doors, unravelling the intricate narratives embedded within the cityscape. Her works become a gateway, an invitation to transcend space and time.

The Massimiliano Galliani Prize for Drawing Under 35 transforms a painful loss into an opportunity for young artists in Italy and around the world. ArtVerona, the art fair, and the artMacs cultural association pay tribute to the late artist Massimiliano Galliani, who passed away prematurely in 2020 at the age of 37, with the Massimiliano Galliani Prize for Drawing Under 35. This award is dedicated to drawing and emerging visual research.


During the 17th edition of ArtVerona, a professional jury consisting of Omar Galliani (artist), Gianluca Marziani (curator and art critic), Vanni Cuoghi (artist and professor at the Aldo Galli Academy in Como), Eleonora Frattarolo (professor of Cultural Heritage and Environmental Issues at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna and member of the Scientific Committee of the Rimini Design Biennial), and Fausto Torelli (Mayor of the Municipality of Montecchio Emilia and cultural ambassador) selected the works of Sawsan Al Bahar and Chiara Calore as the best drawings created by artists under 35 among those submitted by participating galleries. The two artists tied for the award.


The Municipality of Montecchio Emilia, which has long been dedicated to promoting visual research, has joined forces with artMacs to honor the memory of Massimiliano Galliani and support the enhancement project.

May 16, 2023