The past, present and future swirl together in Nadim Karam’s “The Cloud, the Fisherman, and the Mutating Cities”. The sculpture plays on the metamorphosis of the Gulf, where skylines grow daily more vertiginous and booming new economies have displaced traditional rhythms of life. Karam’s whimsical take on these transformations was one of the highlights of Ayyam Gallery’s contribution to the fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Art.

The magisterial range of the artists presented, including Saudi conceptual artist Abdulnasser Gharam and Tammam Azzam, the Syrian painter whose “Freedom Graffiti” went viral earlier this year, reflects the gallery’s own stellar ascent. Seven years ago, when cousins Khaled and Hisham Samawi founded Ayyam in Damascus, many doubted their faith that the rising generation of Syrian artists could compete on the international art market. By now, their success has proven the skeptics wrong; the gallery now has branches in Beirut, Dubai, and newly this year, London and Jeddah.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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