Safir Artists

Noor Bahjat 

A dedicated artist, born in Damascus, Syria in 1991, Noor graduated top of her class from the Faculty of Fine Art in the University of Damascus. She was also one of the first young artists to be granted a residency at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai, where she held her first Solo Exhibition in August 2015. Working from detailed sketches in a painterly expressionist style that is primarily applied to figurative subject matter, Noor, skillfully transitions between warm and cool palettes. In addition to detailed line work and saturated washes of paint, creating deeply atmospheric composition. Influenced by postwar artists such as Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud, she captures the most inane human actions, and elevates them to deeply compelling, intimate portrayals by focusing on the body as it seemingly undergoes transformation within the confined space of the composition.


Adel Dauood

Born in Al Hasaka Syria in 1980, Adel Dauood graduated from the Fine Arts Center in Hasakeh in 2002, and then from the Faculty of Fine Arts University Damascus in 2011. He had his latest solo exhibition in 2015 at gallery Hinterland in Vienna Austria, having held previous solo exhibitions in 2012 at Foresight32 Art Gallery Amman and Art House Damascus. He has participated in many group exhibitions in other parts of the world including Germany, Sweden, Turkey and France. Both the British Museum and Burjeel Art Foundation have acquired works by Adel in 2015.


Nour Asalia

Syrian sculptor Nour Asalia was born in Hama Syria. She is currently living in Paris France and completing her PhD on ‘The fragility in sculpture in the first half of the twentieth century’ at the Graduate School for Aesthetics and Science and Technology of Arts Paris 8 University.  She has participated in many group exhibitions including the 4th Edition of the Sculpture Biennale in Yerres France in 2016, and others in Syria and Lebanon, and had her solo exhibition in  2010 “The Camel” at the Kozah Gallery in Damascus.

Mohamad Khayata

Khayata is an independent Syrian visual artist who holds a degree in Fine Arts obtained at the Damascus university. He has lived in Lebanon since 2012 where he held three solo exhibitions at 392rmeil393 in 2013,2015 and 2017. The photography project  “Stitching my Syria back”, launched in 2014, was chosen to be part in Journeys Festival International 2016 as a landmark for the “Look up” project in Leicester, where his photographs were installed on ten buildings. In the last five years, Khayata also participated to ten collective exhibitions across Europe and the Middle East, including: “ Syrian Art: of Today “, organized by VC and Oxfam in London ; and “The Third Space”, organized by the British Council in London and Brussels, In 2016 at Beirut Art Fair “BAF” in “REVEALING”. In 2017 at Beirut Art Fair with 392rmeil393; In 2016 he was selected by SAFIR to participate to the TA’AROF workshop in Sharjah Art Biennale 2017. Khayata won two grants from AFAQ and ETTIJAHAT associations to lunch his upcoming project “To Be Continued” in 2018. Mohamad’s artworks are the result of five years of displacement, working around the concept of migration, memory and identity. His work is a tribute to the displaced people, mothers and workers, and to their daily life stories that, far from familiar surroundings, are filled with efforts, hope and sore points. 

Abdallah Omari

Syrian painter, performing artist and filmmaker Abdalla Omari was born in Damascus in 1986. In 2009, Omari simultaneously graduated from the Damascus University with a degree in English Literature and the Adham Ismail Institute for Visual Arts. Abdalla Omari’s paintings were featured with Ayyam Gallery since early 2012 at The Young Collector’s Auction where his captivating portrait garnered much attention and sold over estimate. Omari was recently granted asylum in Belgium and he currently lives and works in Brussels, where he started his project ” The Vulnerability Series“, depicting the world political figures in very vulnerable states, breaking their image of ultimate power. “Fraught with emotion, Omari’s oil on canvas compositions tackle complex psychological states, yet retain a profound beauty through their painterly application and realistic portrayal.” Since his graduation, Omari’s work has been featured in exhibitions, auctions and festivals in: Syria, Lebanon, UAE, Georgia, France, UK , USA, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and others. His works are aquired by art institutions like : Barjeel Art Foundation UAE, Ayyam Gallery UAE, Kamel Gallery Damascus, the ministry of culture, Syria, and in private collections around the world.


Mohammad Zaza

Mohammad Zaza, Syrian artist, was born in Riyadh in 1987 and currently resides in Brussels. Growing up in an artistic family, he started drawing and painting at an early age. After completing high school in Saudi Arabia, he moved to Syria in 2006 to study at the faculty of Fine Arts in Aleppo University. He held his first solo exhibition in 2008 and, after his graduation in 2010, was appointed as a painting teacher assistant at the University until 2012. Besides painting on big size canvases, Zaza also works on illustrations and animations. Mohammad has held 10 solo exhibitions across Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, in addition to his participation in many group shows and international art fairs.


Yamen Yousef

Born in 1982 and a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2006, Yamen Yousef is a Syrian sculptor artist. Having previously participated in many sculpture symposiums, art workshops, art fairs and exhibitions in Damascus, Beirut, Turkey and London. His work researches the ability to give expression to the human form, to transmit and translate its language into sculpture form, working to combine traditional sculptural knowledge and technical skills with contemporary issues and thereby trying to create works that are reactions to daily life. Yamen has worked with many materials including bronze, wood, metal, plaster, stone, and recycled paper. He uses several medias for his artistic expression such as digital media, printmaking and painting.


Alaa Sharabi

Born in Damascus in 1988, Alaa lives in Damascus, Syria. Graduated top of his class in 2010 from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus University and completed a Master’s degree with excellence in Fine Arts from Damascus University as well. His work combines an  analytic mind with the accumulated feeling in his memory. Lines are used to build the distorted human shapes and complex imaginary creatures and sometimes the lines become so complicated and mixed up that those creatures are unclear and full of emotion. In most of the times lines accompany the technique which is a main creative element of Alaa’s artwork, and his tendency towards order and discipline while also being a reflection of his unconsciousness. His experiments on using different materials led to the creation of a link between two worlds, painting and print-making. Alaa had his first solo exhibition with Tajaliyat Gallery in Beirut in 2015, and has participated in group exhibitions in other parts of the world including Singapore, Italy, Albania and Canada.


Juhayda Al Bitar

Born in 1991 in Damascus, Juhayda completed her BA in Fine Arts in 2013, and a Master’s degree in “Byzantine painting’s impact on contemporary Syrian painting” from Damascus University. She had her first Solo Exhibition at Art House in Damascus Syria in 2015, and has participated in many group exhibitions in other countries including Lebanon, Albania, Italy and Canada. A deeper analysis of the figures in her paintings show that they represent masked creatures and false identities created by those figures who delude each other but when left alone their masks fade away showing the truth underneath; some are desperate and void from the inside while others create their own worlds where elements’ roles are set by them, but some disappear in the mask and become clowns in the parade of their lives. Symbols sometimes appear in Juhayda’s work and there is an obvious tendency towards expressionism especially when she addresses the evil within the portrayed characters in her art.


Anas Albraehe

Born in Syria in 1991, Anas  Albraehe is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on painting and theatre performance. He studied painting and drawing at the Fine Arts University of Damascus, Syria. After the onset of war in Syria, he relocated to Lebanon where he completed his MA in Psychology and Art Therapy at the Lebanese University. His recent work combines his expertise in the fields of art and psychology, to create a contemporary portraiture that explores the psychology of color and the glance of the other. He has participated in collective exhibitions in Bahrain and Lebanon, and recently held two solo exhibitions in 2017 ‘Manal’ in Beirut and Jordan.


Nagham Alshoush

Born in 1991 in Swiada, Syria, Nagham studied picturing and drawing at the Fine Arts University of Damascus, Syria. She taught the subject of Picturing and Drawing in the second faculty of fine arts in 2015-2016 (first semester), participated in many group exhibitions in Swaida, Homs and Damascus, in addition to participapating in a photography group exhibition in Swaida. Her works represent women. Throughout fabric’s forms and combinations that outline bodily postures behind it, she used and was inspired by the fabric itself – it’s folds and creases – to emphasize the tendency of a woman to hide her emotions and her grief behind curtains. In portraits, on the other hand, she uses expressionism, focusing on emphasizing state and feelings throughout eye expressions which she considers as the most honest and mostly trusted to explain the spirit of a human state.


Elias Ayoob

Born in Damascus in 1986, Elias Ayoob graduated (top of his class) from the Faculty of Fine Arts – Damascus University in 2009, where he worked as Assistant Professor from 2012-2013. In 2016 he completed his Master’s degree in Art Education from Kursk State University, Russia; and went on to completing his PhD degree in the History and Philosophy of Art at Moscow State Academic Art Institute named V. I. Surikov. Since 2007 Elias Ayoob has participated in many mutual exhibitions and Art Fairs in different countries including Syria, Lebanon, Russia, Ukraine and Croatia. He has received several awards from Syria, UNESCO, Petro-Canada and Russia and has held three solo exhibitions, in 2009 at Kozah gallery in Damascus, in 2017 at Umjetnicka Art museum in Dubrovnik- Croatia, and in 2017 at Rodina gallery in Belgogrod- Russia. Elias is inspired by daily moments of people’s life; he is permanently painting and drawing daily allegories in symbolical forms especially from the current war in Syria.


Wissam al Shaabi

Born in Damascus in 1986 Wissam graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2010 and currently resides in Beirut, Lebanon. He began his artistic journey by using lines and simple colors on canvas to form a visual language that expresses feelings and emotions. Today his practice is characterized by his vibrant abstract aesthetic. Wissam has participated in several exhibitions throughout the Middle East and his work can be found in private collections in the Middle East and USA.


Dana Nafouri

Born in Damascus, Syria 1988, Dana currently lives in Syria. She graduated from Adham Ismael Institute of Fine Arts in Damascus, Syria, 2006 and holds a Bachelor degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University, Syria, 2010; major: Painting / Mural painting. In 2016 Dana completed her Master’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Helwan University, Egypt. Her artwork varies in several forms; Painting, Mural Painting, Printmaking, and Illustration. Dana prepared her first solo exhibition “Tiamat” (The goddess of the ocean that gives birth to the first generation of deities In the Enûma Elish, the Sumerian epic of creation) at The Austrian Culture Forum, Egypt, Cairo, 2016. Dana has also participated in many workshops and group exhibitions since 2005 in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, London, and Germany.


Johnny Semaan

A graduate of Fine Arts (B.F.A) from Damascus University in 2007, Semaan is a formal teacher at the University of Latakia and aM.S student at the Lebanese University, majoring  in painting.  His contributions include successful participations in group exhibitions such as: The exhibition of the Fine Arts graduates at the French Cultural Center (CCF) in Damascus – 2008, Beirut Art Fair Contemporary Art Exhibition – 2017 in addition to some solo exhibitions such as : ” In the capacious of the Mediterranean sea ” festival -2008, “Colorful Centimeters 1800days at 392Rmeil393-Beirut 2016, Scene From a Distance at 392Rmeil393-Beirut 2016, ”White In Greenwich Time at 392Rmeil393-Beirut 2017. 


Akil was born in Syria in 1988. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine arts in Aleppo and currently lives in Beirut. His passion for  Arabic calligraphy started very early. Akil’s works are inspired by Arabic musical ‘Maqams’ which refers to place or position, and converts them from an audio pattern to an optical one. He derives  great pleasure from Arabic calligraphy and while working, listens to an inner voice and then tries to hold all these moments of ecstasy and then convert them to a letter, a word, an optical language. Akil searches for an optical modern language for the letter, and also examines ink compositions and natural paper manufacturing. Because art is his magic tool of expression, he feels that it is the ideal solution to stop any war. He has held several solo exhibitions, the most recent was held at (Beirut Souks/Solidere) in Beirut “Maqamat”, in addition to an earlier  solo interactive exhibition at Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture which was entitled “Fi Hadrat Al-Harf”. He has also participated in other exhibitions worldwide and was awarded the “Al-Burda” prize in Dubai in 2015 , and participated in Sharjah Biennial 13 2016  and “Noqta” Bahrain Art in 2015. His last participation was in “Beirut Art Fair ” 2017. His works can be found in special collections across the Middle East, Europe, America and other countries.

Are you a Middle-Eastern Artist or Curator looking to build your capacities and develop your skills further? If so, please visit our SAFIR Artist page to find out more about our program and apply.

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