Bassam Al-Sabah



Wandering, Wandering With a Sun on my Back

Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset

Fenced Within the Silent Cold Walls

The dust carried me into the watchful summer

Swords don’t exist in nature

Soon after came the drums

Faces in the crowd











My work aims to convey visions of war, resistance and perseverance. I utilise a multi-media installation comprising of video, painting, sculpture and printed matter. The work is concerned with how the past is continually revised to meet the present, when the juvenile fantasy breaks down into the reality of adulthood. The work references Arabic dubbed Japanese anime series, which were broadcast across the middle-east from the 1980s onwards. Tackling themes of revolution, war and exile, the work projects political meaning onto these cartoons, which have been connected with a cross generational identity, shared by now adult Arabs. Drawing attention to an ignored point in media globalization: the influence, effects and agendas of Japanese anime on Arab popular culture.

Displacement, nostalgia and personal mythology play a significant role within my work as it tries to capture a recollection that is not fixed, but rather an amalgamation of various narratives - both false and true - that have collapsed into each other causing the sensation of falsified memory and trauma. To achieve this I have been drawing on scenes of war and destruction in children’s animations and deconstructing the parallels between fantasy and reality, the hero and the everyday, the make-believe and fact.



Al-Sabah graduated from IADT’s BA Visual Art Practice in 2016 and was awarded the RHA Graduate Studio Award. He was also shortlisted for the RDS Visual Arts Awards, curated by Alice Maher. Recently he was part of a panel discussion, chaired by Cristín Leach, in Dublin Castle as part of Cruinniú na Cásca, and was listed by Gemma Tipton in the Irish Times as an artist to watch in 2017. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at Eight (2017) and Dublin City Council's The LAB (2018).



BA in Visual Arts Practice, IADT Dun Laoghaire, 2012 - 2016.




Upcoming, Solstice Arts Centre

Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset, The LAB, 2018

The dust carried me into the watchful summer, Eight Gallery, 2017


Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas projects, 2018

Futures, Series 3, Episode 2, Royal Hibernian Acadamy, 2018

Syntonic State, Tulca 18, Curated by Linda Shevlin, 2018

Drop Everything, Aras Eanna Arts Centre, 2018

VUE art fair, RHA Gallery, 2018

Stream, The Complex, 2017

RDS Visual Arts Awards, curated by Alice Maher, RDS Concert Hall, 2016

I Am Doing Things, IADT Dun Laoghaire, 2016

Juvenoia, Pallas Projects and Studios, 2015

Islands, The Mart, 2015

Separate, The Mart, 2014

Imagination, The Drawing Project, Dun Laoghaire, 2013


Artist Talks and Lectures

Visiting Lecturer, GMIT as part of the MA Creative Practice Visiting Lecturer programme, November 2018

Panel discussion with Joy Gerrard and Kevin Atherton chaired by Sarah O’Neill, RHA, May 2018

Visiting Lecturer, IADT, November 2017

Artist Talk, Hugh Lane, June 2017

Cruinniú na Cásca, panel discussion chaired by Cristín Leach, Dublin Castle, April 2017


Awards/ Residencies

AFAC Visual Arts Grant, 2018

Temple Bar Gallery Graduate Residency Award, 2018

Fingal Artist Bursary, 2018

Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary Award, 2018

RHA Graduate Studio Award, 2016- 2017

Shortlisted for the RDS visual Arts Awards, 2016


Publications and Reviews

Finding the Line, Interview with Bassam Al-Sabah, Cecilia Danell and Marcel Vidal by Joanne Laws, VAN, 2018

From Iraq to Ireland: UFO Robot Grendizer and visual artist Bassam Al-Sabah, Interview, 2018

Top 40 under 40, Irish Arts Review, 2018

Review of “Illusion of Love Dyed by Sunset”, Circa Art Magazine, By Suzanne Walsh, 2018

Review of “Illusions of Love Dyed by Sunset”, The Irish Times by Aidan Dunne, 2018

"The dust carried me into the watchful summer" featured in the Irish Times by Gemma Tipton, 2017

50 people to watch in 2017 by Gemma Tipton, Sunday Times, 2017

Profile in the Irish Times by Sorcha Pollak, 2016

RDS Visual Arts Awards: encouraging a new generation by Gemma Tipton, Irish Times, 2016

Video Review of Dublin Degree Shows by James Merrigan, 2016



Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Private Collections