On 12 May 2015 Ayyam Gallery held its twenty third Young Collectors Auction. Fifty-eight of the seventy-three lots were sold yielding US$ 807,400 in total sales with premiums.
Several international phone bidders joined young art lovers as well as seasoned collectors in the room, confirming the growing interest for Middle Eastern art among UAE collectors and international art connoisseurs alike.
A number of notable works of modern Arab masters encompassing painting, sculpture, mixed media, and photography, complemented a curated selection of young artists from the Middle East, Iran, and North Africa.
The auction opened with Syrian artist Noor Bahjat, who recently joined Ayyam Gallery’s Dubai residency program. Her untitled work on canvas fetched the higher estimate at US$ 4,800, marking Bahjat’s successful auction debut. Iranian artist Morteza Khosravi, also a first-timer of the Young Collectors’ Auction, was featured with a work on canvas titled Banquet, which sold for US$ 4,800 to a Dubai based collector. Joining the round up of emerging Iranian artists were Habib Farajabadi and Kaveh Hosseini, whose works sold well above their lower estimates.
Increasingly coveted by Middle Eastern and international collectors alike, Syrian multidisciplinary artist Tammam Azzam appeared in the auction with a large scale painting presenting an aerial view of war-torn buildings in Syria. Part of his Storeys series, the untitled work sold for US$ 19,200. Listed among Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, Mohannad Orabi introduced a new mixed-media work from 2015 titled Family Portrait, which was sold US$ 24,000. A great interest was shown in lots 32 and 62 by Pierre Koukjian and Hamza Bounoua, which sold for US$ 15,600 and US$ 10,800 respectively.
The auction’s peak was reached with lot 31 — a 2014 painting by Safwan Dahoul sold for US$ 80,400. Depicting the lonely figure of a woman casting a careful glance from behind an ashen wall, the 2014 masterfully executed work displays Dahoul’s celebrated ethereal style. The second highest result of the night was achieved with Louay Kayyali’s Malula, dated 1964. Part of the pioneering artist’s iconic series representing the historic Syrian village, its buildings and the surrounding landscape in hues of grey and touches of blue, the painting was sold for US$ 78,000. Among other highlights was Fateh Moudarres’ 1965 untitled work portraying a young woman in a red dress, adorned by the artist’s iconic surrealist characters. The realist depiction incorporating abstract elements sold for US$ 30,000.