Ammar Abd Rabbo
From June 18 until July 12, Ayyam Gallery DIFC is pleased to present a new series of works by renowned photojournalist, Ammar Abd Rabbo, in his second artistic exhibition with Ayyam Gallery entitled ‘Follow the Leader’. A chronicler of life’s events, capturing nearly every moment from the poverty stricken on the street to the world’s nobility and celebrated figures, Ammar Abd Rabbo focuses his lens in ‘Follow the Leader’ on the spontaneous moments that portray the humanity of our world leaders.
Featuring a rare collection of fifteen photographs of Arab and international leaders taken at various moments of their life, Ammar Abd Rabbo’s new series offers an unprecedented glimpse at these leaders. Captured while on assignment and never staged or digitally manipulated in any way, Ammar Abd Rabbo manages to immortalize those moments reserved for private spheres that slip into view. An internal thought read across the lines of a face, a smirk and side glance, the way the poster of one leader is ignored while another is carefully cared for. With the eye of a journalist, each of Ammar Abd Rabbo’s images relay just enough information to set the scene, yet with an unfailing artistic eye, his intriguing compositions retain a graphic beauty.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Syrian President Bashar El Assad and his wife, Saudi Prince and billionaire Alwaleed Bin Talal, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and the fallen leaders of Iraq and Libya among others are featured in this exhibition. Whether attractive or repulsive in their political stances, each is a personality who engages our curiosity, and each portrait makes the same statement, that icons are simply human beings, sharing the same experiences and feelings as the wider public.
Born in Damascus in 1966, Rabbo lived in Libya and Lebanon prior to ultimately residing in France in 1978. As one of the Arab world’s most important photojournalists, his work has been published in the world’s most widely circulated publications, from Time Magazine to Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and Asharq Al Awsat, where he signed more than 60 magazine covers, and his virtual exhibition on the photo-sharing website Flickr has had more than two and a half million visitors. From a twenty-year career, his portfolio amassed intimate portraits of head of states, war coverage in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya, world-renowned celebrities like the late ‘King of Pop’, Michael Jackson, as well as high society events such as the Cannes Film Festival and Paris Fashion Week. Rabbo’s first solo artistic exhibition, ‘Coming Soon’ was held in Ayyam Gallery, Beirut in early 2012 and his photograph of Queen Elizabeth II was recently sold at The Young Collectors Auction in Dubai in May 2012. Since opening in 2006 Ayyam Gallery has become one of the most prominent galleries in the Middle East, with four exhibition spaces throughout the region, notably in Syria, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.
Ammar Abd Rabbo
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Abd Rabbo left Syria in his childhood and has been living in France since 1978. He has covered photo stories in the Arab world since the 1990s in Iraq, Libya and Lebanon, as well as in his homeland, Syria. His work has been published in Time, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Bild and various other publications.
From a 25-year career, his portfolio includes portraits of head of states, war coverage in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya, celebrities like Michael Jackson, as well as of events such as the Cannes Film Festival and Paris Fashion Week.
Abd Rabbo has also had solo exhibitions of his press work, as well as works about nudity and the body. “Coming Soon” in Beirut in 2012 was a series of artistic silhouettes of pregnant women, aiming to “encourage the audience to think differently about pregnancy” as the artist stated on the television channel Al Arabiya.
He was awarded “Knight of Arts and Letters” by the French government in 2017.
Since 2018, he is a regular contributor of the website “Daraj”, where he publishes videos in Arabic raising awareness about fake news and conspiracy theories.