The artwork of Asad Azi, an Israeli-Druze artist, is deeply inspired by Classical images and subjects. As a socio-political artist, by using the classics Azi conveys subversive and critical messages.
In a series of works exhibited recently in an exhibition titled – Bacchanalia, hybrid creatures, Dionysian in character, fill Azi’s canvases. Hybrids such as centaurs and satyrs symbolized in Antiquity the opposition to the principles of moderation (aidos), self-knowledge (sophrosyne), and self-control (enkrateia) to which the Greek citizen was obliged, and were thus connected with Otherness. Metaphorically, hybridity in Azi’s work symbolizes socio-political Otherness and its implications in connection with post-colonial theories. An additional and very prominent aspect of the hybrid in Antiquity was their role as intermediaries between the human and the divine, as noted by Friedrich Nietzsche in his reference to the Dionysian mystic initiation. This aspect sheds another light on the hybrid images depicted by Azi, and the meaning of the Other and the minority in modern times. The present study is interdisciplinary in nature and belongs to the field of reception studies, and aims at examining the Classical influence upon contemporary culture.
// Journal of Arts and Humanities, Vol 2, No7, August 2013