Combining techniques of Modern art with motifs drawn from his Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian heritage, Dia Al-Azzawi is one of Iraq's most renowned and celebrated contemporary painters. Highly influenced by his studies in archaeology, the artist spent much of his time at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad and was consequently influenced by the Mesopotamian and Islamic art.
No Eye Can Catch Him from 1972 is a timeless masterpiece The geometric patterning and arabesque derived from the tribal culture of the desert is typical of Al-Azzawi's signature style. It was at the end of the 1970s that the artist developed what is now his distinctively bright colour palette. The vast mass of black ideally contrasts the bold colour-blocking in the centre of the composition, with the sky and the sea used as the painting's backdrop. The figure casts a menacing shadow behind him as he attempts to escape an unknown fate. The painting pays homage to the Arab populations in exile and alludes to their thoughts and experiences when fleeing from the turmoil that was taking place in their beloved homeland.
In 1976, Al-Azzawi left Iraq for London, where he currently resides and paints. His studio has been described as a place of exile, where he created his own, imaginary Baghdad. His artworks can be found in the permanent collections of the British Museum, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the Colas Foundation French National Library, the Kinda Foundation, the Ona Foundation, Mathaf Museum in Qatar and numerous private collections around the world.