Project Description

September 1, 2020 – October 23, 2020

CONCLUDED EXHIBITION

ARTSERVE PRESENTS
EMERGING ART FROM WAR-TORN SYRIA: WAR & HOPE

Curator

Curated in collaboration with
TONY KHAWAM

Location

ArtServe, Inc.
1350 E Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale. Fl, 33304

Tours

Opening Week Guided Tours with Curator:

Guided tours will be available by appointment only and
virtually during the exhibition period.
To book a guided tour please email: sophieb@artserve.org

Guided Tour Tickets

*RSVP required via Eventbrite. Group limit is 10 people.
*Mask wearing is mandatory inside the facility and 6ft distancing will be enforced.
ArtServe is operating under the Museum/Gallery Protocol for Broward County.

Visit the Virtual Gallery Experience

September 1, 2020 – October 23, 2020

Exhibit Title

ARTSERVE PRESENTS
EMERGING ART FROM WAR-TORN SYRIA: WAR & HOPE

Curator

Curated in collaboration with
TONY KHAWAM

Location

ArtServe, Inc.
1350 E Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale. Fl, 33304

Tours

Opening Week Guided Tours with Curator:

Guided tours will be available by appointment only and
virtually during the exhibition period.
To book a guided tour please email: sophieb@artserve.org

Guided Tour Tickets

*RSVP required via Eventbrite. Group limit is 10 people.
*Mask wearing is mandatory inside the facility and 6ft distancing will be enforced.
ArtServe is operating under the Museum/Gallery Protocol for Broward County.

Visit the Virtual Gallery Experience

Contemporary Art by Prominent Syrian Artists Presented in collaboration with Khawam Gallery, the exhibition showcases contemporary works by Syrian artists who began a new phase of their careers by creating work in response to the recent impact of war on their nation. Primarily composed of paintings for the 21st Century, the exhibition weaves together images of physical and virtual worlds, memories and emotions that collectively emerge as an intimate testimony of human suffering and resilience.

The exhibition showcases works by Syrian American and Syrian artists who began a new phase of their artistic careers in response to Syria’s war. The paintings are a sweeping survey of contemporary art from America and Syria that weaves together images of the physical world, memories, emotions, and the virtual world. Some of the artists emigrated to the U.S., Europe or neighbouring countries, others are still living and working in Syria and are currently professors of art in the Faculty of Arts in Damascus and Aleppo Universities.

While none of the works are political in nature, the influence of the war is reflected in the style and content of a number of the paintings and the development of the artists themselves. Their paintings are a grand testimony of human suffering and survival whether spiritual or physical, especially in times of war. The artists in this exhibition are deeply rooted in their country’s rich cultural and artistic traditions and assimilate the achievements of Western Modernism in the portrayal of their expressive representation of the human body, and urban architecture.

The influence of Syrian heritage, Antiquity, the European and American Modernism are apparent in most of the paintings. There are many fine examples of the outpouring of Syrian culture which has proved itself to be both resilient to the culture of death and a passionate expression of desire for the culture of life and hope.

– Tony Khawam, Exhibition Curator

Artworks

Visit the Virtual Gallery Experience

Artist

TONY KHAWAM was born in Aleppo, Syria. His abstracted architectural and heritage works are formed by ideas about today’s socio-political and socio-cultural issues such as social disruption, displacement, and immigration. The imagery is based on traditional Middle Eastern and American urban architecture affected by social disruption.

Khawam was a frequent visitor to Aleppo and Damascus National Museums during his childhood, his memories of ancient civilization and early art resonated with him to shape his current artistic creations with influences of post- war German and American modern art.

Khawam’s primary focus is of his birthplace – the city of Aleppo with urban scenes of collapsed apartment floors, fallen balconies, curved rooftops, debris and punched holes in building facades. The painting series reveal haunting and disturbing scenes and intentionally painted with a palette of joyful color fields and shapes that emerge from the canvas with a vigorous life force.

Khawam’s recent work is influenced by post World War II artists such as Willem de Kooning, Joseph Beuys, Gerard Richter and Anselm Kiefer especially in their innovative approach in their process and the use of materials. In 2016, he started an online gallery and curated a number of exhibitions dealing with multiculturalism and socio-political issues, such as war, displacement and immigration. The gallery has been active in communities of Florida and New York Metro area, as well as present at a series of highly regarded multicultural art exhibitions and gallery spaces.

Education

  • 1985 – Bachelor of Fine Art, The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
  • 1987 – Advanced studies in Advertising and Graphic Design, Montclair State University, NJ

Professional Career

  • Artist-curator, creative designer and curator of a number of exhibits with a focus on cultural heritage and the American culture for building cultural understanding, fostering interest, awareness through arts and culture.

Collections

Tony Khawam’s work is in museums and private collections around the U.S.A., Mexico, Europe and the Middle East.

NIZAR SABOUR was born in Latakia and now lives and works in Damascus and Moscow. He received his PhD in art philosophy from Strugunov Academy in Moscow, the influence of Syrian-Russian cultures are reflected in his work which splits between two themes, the first has religious undertones, focusing on the artist’s fascination with historical imagery and icons whether Christian, Islamic or non-Abrahamic traditions and the second theme is very poetic. His images tend to appear archaic, utilizing traditional elements silkscreened with paint, sand, and ash on canvas, with a flattened perspective and spots of colored shapes. He employs motifs reminiscent of the European Dada movement rather than the precision of historical iconography. His recent work includes Icons, Maaloula and Palmyra have a correlation to the historical and religious places in Syria where the extremists entered towns and ransacked the culture.

Education

  • 1990 – Ph.D. in Art Science – Strugunov Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts – Moscow, Russia
  • 1981 – Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Photography, Damascus University, Syria

Professional Career

  • 2014-Present – Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the private University of Kalamoun, Deir Atieh, Syria
  • 2011-2013 – Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, Head of Graphic Design Department at the International University for Science and Technology, Damascus
  • 2005-2008 – Head of Painting and Photography Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union.

Collections

Nizar Sabour’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia, Europe and U.S.A.

BASSEM DAHDOUH was born in Damascus, Syria and continues to live and work Beirut. His artwork before the Syrian war was influenced by Cubism and post-impressionism in a fresh and inventive contemporary approach. The subject of his work and style was developed during the war in which he expressed his feelings through the influence of post world war II German expressionism. His recent work focuses on distorted figures which signify a shift in the style. He focuses on the subject and the composition by using an earth color palette to portray a lost and confused generation of the Syrian society through the depiction of portraits and figures significantly distorted to express the horror which has befallen upon his world by the Syrian war.

Education

  • 1999 – Doctorate in Philosophy in Sciences of Art, Hilwan University in Cairo
  • 1985 – 1995 – Master and Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Damascus

Professional Career

  • 2014 – Present – Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Arab International University, Syria
  • 2000 – Present – Visual Arts instructor at the University of Damascus
  • 2007 – Venice Biennale, representing Syria Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Bassem Dahdouh’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia, Europe and U.S.A.

EDWARD SHAHDA was born in Hama, Syria, lives and works in Beirut. His subjects are inspired by folk tales, myths, and local icons; with a focus on the female body. His work is characterized by simplified expression with color spaces and touches, sometimes surrounded by symbolic elements.

Education

  • 1976 – Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus, University with an honor of excellence
  • 1991-1992 – Residency workshop, at Atelier of Anatoly Clankov, Russia

Professional Career

  • 2000 – Present – Visual Arts instructor at the University of Damascus Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Edward Shahda’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia, Europe and U.S.A.

MANHAL ISSA was born in Tartous, Syria and now lives and works in Paris. He’s a painter, sculptor and digital video artist who arrived in France in 2000 and became a naturalized French citizen in 2008. His work is influenced by the abstract expressionism by revisiting the myths and mysteries of his Syrian culture and adopted French lifestyle. His style became more gestural representation after the start of the Syrian war which influenced his recent work by using mixed media and runs with a car tire over his painting to emphasize on aggressive gestural human behavior that ran over his mother country.

The influence of the war is evident in his paintings which swings between demolition and construction, between the beauty and the act of smearing the surface of his canvases. Mr. Issa recalls his impression of how he can conduct during the process of creating a painting, either as a criminal or as a victim; it swings between the possible and the impossible. He acknowledges the new change that swept his mother land, the swing between the nostalgia of his native country and the lifestyle and culture of the country where he is currently residing are constantly on his mind and reflected in his work.

Education

  • 2003 – Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, Syria
  • 2008 – Master of Fine Arts from Paris Eight University

Professional Career

  • 2010-Present – Visual Arts instructor and lecturer at Visual Arts Centers in Paris and Angers, France

Collections

Manhal Issa’s work is in museums, private collections in the Middle East, Russia, Europe and U.S.A.

CHADY ELIAS was born in Beirut and now works and lives in Aventura, Florida. His work based on layers of materials and emotions coming together in a unique perspective. He integrates in the composition positive colors with powerful wording, to establish a visual language. He’s inspiration derived from people and the stunning language of self-programming and deep admiration for nature; mountains, valleys, rivers, and seas. He attended at early age the national museums and contemporary art galleries in Damascus and Beirut which helped him understand modern art to create something unique the makes a connection between his heritage and the new life as an immigrant in America.

Education

  • 2007 – Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Photography, Beirut University, Lebanon

Professional Career

  • 2010-Present – Artist and creative designer

Collections

Chady Elias’s work is in private collections around the Middle East, Europe and U.S.A.

OMRAN YOUNIS was born in Damascus where he continues to live and work. His work is the most expressive of the exhibiting artists. He portrays distorted human figures stretched, bent and repeated to construct an overall pattern stretching from one side of the canvas to the other side and constrained within the canvas. His paintings are a great testament of the human suffering during the war in Syria. His canvases are filled with dismembered bodies or corpses which fill the canvas and portray horror scenes in a unique storytelling and expressive approach. The viewer, at first look from a distance, sees abstracted forms with hint of the subjects. But when standing at a close-up of the painting, the forms start to emerge, revealing more expressive shapes of animals, screaming human faces and dismembered or twisted figures.

Mr. Younis recently has been experimenting with a new natural form to express the horror of war but in a subtle, less horrific, but beautiful, colorful use of the cactus shapes full of thorns. He draws repeated cactuses to form patterns in different shapes and colors twisted and bent to fill the entire canvas expressed in sketch like brush strokes that makes the cactus jumps off from the canvas.

Education

  • Graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1997 from Damascus University Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Professional Career

  • 2006 – Present – Adjunct art instructor at the Fine Arts Faculty of Damascus University Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Omran Younis’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia and Europe.

REEM TARRAF was born in Homs, Syria, lives and works in Damascus. Her abstract paintings are definitions of forms, lines and colors with suggestion of movements that depict beauty, anger, happiness and spirituality. She focuses on color and texture for the ultimate visual shock with unlimited imagination of thoughts. Before the war she enjoyed listening to classical music in the background while creating beautiful abstract paintings. In 2011, as the sounds she

began listening to the background became bombs and rockets, she struggled with how to use the medium of art to convey to the world the widespread suffering of the war. Her images turned much darker such as a series of paintings of bloody laundry on a clothesline and fragments of human remains abstracted beyond recognition. Like so many of her artist colleagues, she changed her style to express the horrible reality around her.

Education

  • Reem Tarraf graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Damascus University in 1998

Professional Career

  • Art teacher at Damascus center for Visual Arts Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Reem Tarraf’s work are in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Europe and U.S.A.

ELIAS AYOOB was born in Damascus, Syria and continues to live and work there. His recent work is evocative of his city of Damascus daily lifestyle. Mr. Ayoob is currently living in Russia studying for his Ph.D in Art Philosophy.

His painting style is based on allegorical symbolic forms, executed rapidly with expressionist brush strokes; which have been influenced by Russian romanticism and German expressionism. The works combine Western artistic influence with the Syrian heritage and culture in a contemporary composition using architectural references to towns and cities such as Damascus and the surrounding suburb where he was born and raised. The paintings are constructed from memories using the human figure as a primary element integrated with architectural motifs and articulated in a painterly style focused on architecture and the people who once were living there in harmony before they were invaded by strangers – bringing the horror of war to their world and disturbing their privacy and altering their lifestyle.

“I especially love the allegory in Elias Ayoob’s oeuvre; inside his pictures war-torn into a hard, sad painting, but, nevertheless, this is Art, which contains Hope for overcoming that horror’’ said Dr. Natalya Goncharenko, director of exhibition hall the Rodina Gallery in Russia.

Education

  • Currently studying for his Ph.D in the Philosophy in Sciences of Art., Moscow State Academic Art Institute
  • 2016 – Master’s degree in Kursk State University, Russia
  • 2009 – Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus, Syria

Professional Career

  • 2012-2013 worked as an Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus, Syria

Collections

Elias Ayoob’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia and Europe.

RAMI SABOUR was born in Latakia, Syria, a coastal city on the Mediterranean, where he continues to live and work. His works have evolved over the past 8 years from expressionist landscape paintings to a semi-abstract style inspired by the surrounding landscapes and the sounds of classical music. His recent work is a link between nature and music with harmonic and symphonic rhythm executed with heavy pigment of pure color scattered over the canvas to suggest, trees, rocks, water reflections and mountain ranges. Recent paintings grew more aggressive in his use of vibrant solid thick color applied by an artist’s knife to hold its color value against distant mountain ranges, valleys and the Mediterranean blue sea which is near his studio.

Education

  • 2003 – Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, Syria

Professional Career

  • 2010-Present – Visual Arts instructor at Latakia Visual Arts Center Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Ramy Sabour’s work is in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Russia, Europe and U.S.A..

NIMAT BADAWI was born in Aleppo, Syria where he continues to live and work. The Badawi Brothers, Nimat and Bachir studied Icon paintings in Rome after finishing their academic visual arts in paintings and both are expert in Icon restorations and Church fresco painting. Nimat’s work is influenced by the Byzantine and Roman Icon art styles. His contemporary creative work takes on a different approach by painting ordinary Syrian people active in their daily life with a focus on mothers and children in a traditional realistic style in a kind of storytelling of the modern world that surrounds him.

Some of his work is based on the architecture of old Aleppo with coblestone and narrow streets, painted in realism style with a twist of romanticism to convey happiness, love and the natural beauty of Aleppo city with its inhabitants. His recent works are of ordinary innocent faces, particularly of women and children and the face of Jesus, which have been painted on found chards of wood of broken doors and windows resulting from bombing in Aleppo of neighborhoods close to the artist studio. They offer us an intimate view of the suffering of the Syrian people during the war.

Education

  • 1988 – Bachelor of Fine Arts in Paintings, Aleppo University, Syria
  • 2000 – Studied Byzantine Icons and restorations in Rome, Italy

Professional Career

  • 1991-2012- Founder and Art instructor at Roland Khouri Art Center, Aleppo
  • 2001–Present – Icons and art restorations Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Nimat Badawi’s work are in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Europe, and U.S.A.

BACHIR BADAWI was born in Aleppo, Syria where he continues to live and work. The Badawi Brothers, Nimat and Bachir studied Icon paintings in Rome after finishing their academic visual arts in paintings and both are expert in Icon restorations and Church fresco painting. Bachir’s work is influenced by the Byzantine and Roman Icon art styles. His contemporary creative work takes on a different approach by painting ordinary Syrians active in their daily life with a focus on the figure in a surrealist style with an introduction of Syrian calligraphy in the background composed as a storytelling of the ordinary people that surrounds him. His recent work of ordinary innocent faces particularly of women and children painted on found chards of wood of broken doors and windows resulting from bombing in Aleppo of neighborhoods close to the artist studio which signify the suffering of the Syrian people during the war.

Education

  • 1988 – Bachelor of Fine Arts in Paintings, Aleppo University, Syria
  • 2000 – Studied Byzantine Icons and restorations in Rome, Italy

Professional Career

  • 1991-2012- Founder and Art instructor at Roland Khouri Art Center, Aleppo
  • 2001–Present – Icons and art restoration Board member of the Syrian Visual Arts Union

Collections

Bachir Badawi’s work are in museums and private collections around the Middle East, Europe and U.S.A.

Tony Khawam Manhal Issa Elias Ayoob
Nizar Sabour Chady Elias Rami Sabour
Bassem Dahdouh Omran Younis Nitmat Badawi
Edward Shahda Reem Tarraf Bachir Badawi