KNIPSU & THE SYRIAN CULTURAL CARAVAN
Mohamad al Roumi
Amanda Abi Khalil
Khaled al Jaramani
Mohanad al Jaramani
Meyar al Roumi
Walid el Masri
Akram Al Halabi
Ammar Abd Rabbo
Assem Al Bacha
Dino Ahmad Ali
Jaber Al Azmeh
Khaled Al Khani
Khouloud Al Zghayare
Eyas al Mokdad
29.05 – 31.05 2015
Festplassen & Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall
Can art make a change, or is it just a cliché? Does art have the power to redefine identities from fragments of what was once a belief? Is it a strategy to change a miserable exile by recreating memories?
Artists, with an eye trained to look at life alternatively, can seize opportunities of social openings. Their sensibilities insists on rewriting the world they live in, a survival technique.
But what happens when this technique enters the machinery of the art world? KNIPSU will this weekend gather art professionals from Syria, Lebanon and Europe to exhibit Syrian art and culture in public and to discuss the mutual effect of art and society.
Curated by Maya Økland, Wiam Alaridi and Mohamad al Roumi
The event is generously supported by Bergen City and the Freedom of Speech Foundation, Oslo
Festplassen May 29th – 31st
The Syrian Cultural Caravan will be standing at Festplassen Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00. Syrian artists will be present and open for dialogue.
A cultural caravan called “Freedom for the Syrian People” set off from Paris on July 12th 2014 for a tour that passed through France, Italy, Germany and came to an end in Brussels, Belgium on September 28th.
Artists of all disciplines (visual artists, actors, musicians, filmmakers, writers etc.) participated in this tour producing at each stage exhibitions, musical performances, street theatre performances, debates, film projections and poetry readers.
The warm welcome that they received and the positive exchanges that the caravan brought has led the participants, those who supported them and those who contributed to its success to create a cultural and artistic movement entitled the “Syrian Cultural Caravan”. Its goal: to promote Syrian culture and contemporary art and to create a platform for exchange with all cultural and artistic organisations and associations in Europe and the World.
Participating artists: Ahmad Kaddour, Akram Al Halabi, Ali Kaaf *, Ammar Abed Rabbo *, Assem Al Bacha *, Bahram Hajou, Dino Ahmad Ali *, Firas Jabakhanji *, Iman Hasbani *, Jaber Al Azmeh *, Khaled Al Khani, Kaled Takreti, Khouloud Al Zghayare, Mohamad Al Roumi *, Monif Ajaj, Mohamad Omran, Muzaffar Salman *, Shada Safadi, Tammam Azzam *, Walid El Masri, Walaa Dakak, Yaser Safi
Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall May 29th
KNIPSU will hold a roundtable discussion at Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall Friday 19:00 Participants: Mohamad al Roumi, Andrea Lange, Dona Timani, Amanda Abi Khalil, Omar Nicolas, Wiam Alaridi, Maya Økland ++
The discussion will be followed by a concert by Nayssam Jalal, Khaled al Jaramani, Mohanad al Jaramani and Kjetil Selvik.
Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall May 29th – 31st
The Syrian Association for Cultural Support will keep office hours at Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 17:00. Official opening: Friday 12:00
The “Syrian Association for Cultural Support” is an artistic work that came up as a result of the encounter “On Lost and Mutable Things”, curated by Omar Nicolas. That encounter gathered eight Syrian artists and cultural producers from inside and outside of Syria. It took place last September at the Mansion art space in Beirut, Lebanon. The association is concerned with questions about cultural identities during times of crisis, the relation of arts and politics and of artists and institutions. The work of the association focuses on the current artistic practices of Syrian artists and cultural producers and how these practices are getting established within the local and global art and cultural context. The association releases itself from being an actual association. Instead it travels as a space, an application, slogan, a performance, a newspaper, a film and an intervention.
Founded by: Dara Abdalla (poet, author), Fadi Al-Hamwi (media artist), Kenan Darwich (curator, publisher), Sulafa Hijazi (video and animation artist / producer), Omar Nicolas (artist, curator, and book designer), Sari Mustafa (theatre maker), Sami Rustom (journalist, archivist), Nowar Yusuf (performance artist).
Landmark/Bergen Kunsthall May 31st
Ahmad Kaddour, artist, painter:
He was born in Syria. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, in 1985. Following that he completed his studies at The National Superior School of Fine Arts in Paris in 1995. He then continued his artistic work for several years following different methods such as painting, drawing `sketching`, screen printing, and video. In 1994, with the help of ENSBA, he made his first published book titled `Seattle`. In 1998, Ahmad published his second book titled `A few hours, a few winters`. The editor of the book was Alternative. He exhibited several times in France and abroad, while teaching workshops in Paris since 2008. http://www.ahmadkaddour.com/
Akram Al Halabi, artist:
Akram Al Halabi was born in Majdal-Shams (Golan Heights) in 1981. From 1997 until 2000, he studied drawing and painting at Bait Al Fan, supervised by the artist Wael Tarabeh. In 2003, he participated in the summer academy of Darat Al Funun, supervised by Prof. Marwan Kassab Bashi, in Amman (Jordan). After studying at the Faculty of Fine Art Damascus (Syria), he finished his BA of Fine Art in 2005. Through the One World Scholarship of the Afro-Asian-Institute, he came to attend the Academy of Fine Art of Vienna in 2007, finishing his studies with distinction in 2012 with the class of Prof. Erwin Bohatsch. During this period, he also was an exchange student at the Academy of Fine Art Umea (Sweden). Akram Al Halabi is a founding member and volunteer at F. Mudarris Center of Arts & Culture in Majdal-Shams (Golan Heights).
Ali Kaaf, artist, painter:
Born in 1977 in Oran (Algeria) from Syrian parents. He studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Beirut (Lebanon), following that he continued his studies in Berlin at the University of Arts (UdK, Universität der Künste) under the supervision of Marwan Kassab Bashi and Rebecca Horn. It was in 2010 when he received several awards, such as The Young Collector’s at the MAXXI museum in Roma, the DAAD-Preis UdK in Berlin, and the AIR Honor Award from the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Main topics of his field of study are erosion and the resistance. He explores using glass, paper, video and photography. His works are presented throughout Europe and the United States. Examples are: Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, USA) at the Moontower Foundation and the Bad König-Zell (Germany). http://alikaaf.net/
Amanda Abi Khalil, curator:
Born in 1985. Amanda Abi Khalil is an independent curator based in Beirut. At the Sorbonne, Paris, she studied art mediation, sociology, and anthropology of art, graduating with an MA in Curating Art for Public Spaces. She has worked in leading cultural institutions in France. She was the director and curator of “The HANGAR” art space in Beirut until 2012 in which she has curated numerous exhibitions and installations with emerging and established international artists. She also teaches art history and sociology of arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA) and at the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut and is a public art consultant for several institutions. Her recent projects include “We hesitated between arrangements, modulations and manoeuvres’’ with Caline Aoun, Charbel- joseph H.Boutros and Stéphanie Saadé, MINUS 5, Beirut / “Postponed Noon” with Raed Yassin, Vitrine Gallery, London, / “Egchi Memeg; sour tits and other displacements’’ with Laure de Selys, French Institute Beirut. Her latest exhibition projects were held at GREYNOISE, Dubai and the CENTQUATRE, Paris. She also curated the ‘’InVisible’’ public art commission in Dubai. She is the founder and director of Temporary Art Platform, an association based in Beirut for the production and promotion of art practices in public spaces. http://www.temporaryartplatform.com/
Amjad Wardeh, artist, painter:
Born in 1984 in Damascus, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. From 2002-2007, he worked in the field of animation for the Syrian national broadcasting company while being the artistic director of the independent daily newspaper ‘Baladna’. From 2009 to 2011 he was appointed the assistant professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. Since 2012, he has participated in numerous exhibitions at the Art Space in Beirut, Beirut Art Fair, Galerie 8 in London, Nottingham, and the P21 Gallery in London. In 2013 he participated in the CI contemporary in Istanbul. http://www.amjadwardeh.com/
Ammar Abd Rabbo, photographer:
Born in 1966 in Damascus, Syria. He lived both in Tripoli (Libya) and Beirut (Lebanon), and then fled to France to escape from the civil war in Lebanon. Graduated from Sciences-Po Paris, Starting from 1992 he started working for the news agency Sipa, and had covered events around the Middle East as the pilgrimage to Mecca, the visits of Pope John Paul II in Lebanon and the destruction of Aleppo in Syria. In 2003, he covered the war in Iraq under the American bombing. His photographs are published in the most prestigious titles such as Paris Match, Time, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Bild Panorama. http://ammar.photoshelter.com/
Andrea Lange, artist:
Born 1967, lives and works in Oslo. Educated at the Art Academy in Bergen and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Perugia Italy 1990-94. Andrea Lange´s art practice relates to the art historical traditions of conceptual art, performance and documentary. She works with a variety of media such as video, photography, text and sound, alternately toward traditional galleries and museums, as in public. Her projects often contains a link to current political agendas and social debates. In Norway she has held solo shows at the Stenersen Museum, the Henie Onstad Art Centre and UKS, and also participated in numerous group exhibitions at the National Museum of Art, Momentum, UKS Biennial, Sørlandet Art Museum and others. Internationally she has exhibited at The Moore Space, Miami, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona, Mucsarnok / Kunsthalle Budapest, Paris Photo – Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, Belfast Exposed, Belfast, Enzimi Festival, Rome, Northern Lights Film Festival , Newcastle, Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, La Triennale di Milano and Melbourne International Biennial and others. Andrea Lange is the founder of Atelier Populaire Oslo which in 2012 collaborated with the Palestinaleir. http://atelierpopulaire.no/, http://www.andrealange.no/
Assem Al Bacha, sculptor:
Born in 1948 in Buenos Aires, to a Syrian father and an Argentinian mother, he began oil painting and sculpturing with limestone in the early 1960s. He later became a member of the Society of Friends of Art in Damascus. He’s been living in Spain since 1982, and he was active in raising awareness about the Syrian art. In 2012, he also became active with the community of Independent Syrian Visual Artists. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.167388653398836.38315.161536270650741&type=3
Bahram Hajou artist, painter:
Born in 1952 in Syria, he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. He currently resides in Germany and works on the human subject in his solitude. He mixes in his works the German Expressionism to a gentle touch that recalls the sensuality of the East. Poetic and extremely subtle, his work exudes power and energy.
Dino Ahmad Ali, visual artist:
Was born in Syria. Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2007. Ahmad Ali lives currently in France. Such an enthusiastic young artist, he explores new artistic paths, while keep visual arts, optical Art, photography and video as focal points.
Dona Timani, artist, painter:
Dona Timani (b.1979) is a visual artist living in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2013, she received a grant from AFAC to fund her first solo exhibition, which focused on the politics of borders and othering in the Arab world. She received a BA in Painting and Drawing from the LU Faculty of Fine Arts in 2004, and an MA in Plastic Arts from ALBA-Balamand in 2008. Timani’s work has been featured in several collective exhibitions both in Lebanon and abroad. She received a grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Afac) in 2013 to fund her first solo exhibition, entitled “Paint a Vulgar Picture,” which opened on 28 August at 392Rmeil393 in Beirut. Dona Timani also works at the research based artist organisation 98weeks in Beirut. http://donatimani.wix.com/artportfolio, http://www.98weeks.net/p/98weeks-project-space.html
Eyas Al Mokdad, filmmaker, choreographer, dancer:
Born in Syria, Eyas Al Mokdad obtained his masters in multimedia at the Luca School of Art in Brussels, Belgium. He also graduated with a degree from the ballet school at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Art in Damascus, and has made several films including The Last Time (2006), Bloodshed (2012), and The Other Half of Your Shadow (2013).
Firas Jabakhanji, photographer, artist and painter:
While studying at the School of Fine Arts, painting department, he made photographic portraits in a studio and worked as a still photographer for a television series. His artistic development and growth continued through the visual arts. His experience of Eastern music influenced his paintings and works on the body and the movement, mobility and immobility, the characters themselves becoming the instruments. http://www.firasjaba.com/
Iman Hasbani, artist, performance, video art:
Iman Hasbani is a visual artist from Syria, she earned her degree in oil painting from the College of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, in 2004. She is the recipient of numerous awards, both inside and utside of Syria including the first prize for small works in the Canada Biennial in 2008. She has participated in exhibitions in Syria, Jordan, Denmark, France, Canada, Italy, Egypt, Qatar, Dubai, Lebanon, and Germany. Since 2008 Hasbani’s interest in social issues has inspired artworks engaged with the social environment and its matrixes, including a group of work focused on the situation of women, in the beginning of 2011, because of the political and social changes throughout the Middle East, Hasbani’s attention shifted to the social and humanitarian issues caused by political changes in the Arab region. http://pictify.com/user/hasbani
Jaber Al Azmeh, photographer:
Born in Damascus in 1973, Jaber got a visual communications degree from the University of Damascus. In 2006, he teached photography at the IUST University in Damascus. Today he lives and works in Doha, Qatar. His works were exhibited in several places like the Atassi Gallery in Damascus, and the Green Gallery in Dubai. He participated in several group exhibitions in Damascus and throughout Europe. His most recent project, Journal, involves being a photographer for various Syrian head figures and others from abroad. He is also known for his photographs of the popular Syrian Newspaper ‘Al Baath” while holding the newspaper upside down with a strong noun or verb written on it in bold font, these photos proved to be very popular among social media platforms. http://www.jaberalazmeh.com/gallery/
Khaled Al Jaramani, musician:
Born in 1972 in Syria, he attended Oud lessons with Professor Fayez Zher Eddine, then enrolled at the Higher Institute of Music with Professor Askar Ali Akbar acting as a mentor. While still a student, he had also attended workshops led by Munir Bashir and Nasser Chema. Along with the Damascus Symphony Orchestra, he participated in concerts at the Congress of Damascus, the UNESCO in Beirut (Lebanon). He played with the Arab Music Orchestra in various music festivals in Damascus, Beirut and Cairo. He has also been invited to perform as a solo artist playing the Oud at the Arab World Institute in Paris in 2011. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Khaled-Aljaramani-Music/273472299425714
Khaled Al Khani, artist, painter:
Khaled Al Khani studied art in Hama/ Syria, graduated in 1991. He got his second bachelor in Oil Painting from the School of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1998. In 2000 he graduated with a higher degree from the same school in oil painting as well. His work was exhibited in Damascus Museum as well as all over the region and in some European countries. He participated in several solo exhibitions and group shows since 1993. http://www.khaledalkhani.com/
Khaled Takreti, artist, painter:
Born in Beirut in 1964, Khaled Takreti is a leading Syrian artist whose Pop aesthetic has influenced a subsequent generation of contemporary Arab painters. Originally trained as an architect at the University of Damascus, he began exhibiting his work in the mid 1990s. Recognized for his innovative approach to portraiture, which merges a personal narrative in the form of a visual diary with explorations of the modern social image, he introduced a painting style that was without precedent in Syria. Based in Paris since 2006, Takreti has exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions and has been featured in biennials and art fairs such as the Alexandria Biennale and Art Hong Kong. His works are housed in the Syrian National Museum, the Jordanian National Gallery of Fine Arts, and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, among other private and public collections. His recent exhibitions include solo shows at Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2014, 2010); Ayyam Gallery London (2013); Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2015, 2012, 2010); Ayyam Gallery Beirut (2010); and Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2009); and group surveys at Musee de la Palmeraire, Marrakech (2014); the Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2014); Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris (2014); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2011); and Villa Emerige, Paris (2011). In 2012 Takreti was named among the top 101 greatest living artists in France by Art Absolument. http://www.ayyamgallery.com/artists/khaled-takreti/images
Khouloud Al Zghayare, poet:
A Syrian residing in Paris, France, Khouloud Al Zghayare gained a degree in sociology from the University of Damascus in 2002 and a Master’s degree in the field of Language, Literature, Arts, Contemporary Society from Université Paris 3 in 2009. Now a PhD student in her final year in sociology of knowledge at Paris 3 la Sorbonne Nouvelle. From 2005 to 2007 she held the position of Assistant Department of Sociology, specialty sociology of knowledge, Faculty of Arts and social science at the University of Damascus. From 2013 to 2014 she was Deputy Member of the research committee at the République démocratique research centre in Paris, France. From 2007 to 2015, she was a researcher and a student at the Université Paris 3, Arab and Oriental Studies Centre (ECWA)
From 2005 to 2014 she has published numerous articles and research in Arab newspapers, research centers and websites. In 2007, Dar ALTAKOUIN in Damascus published a collection of her poetry. In 2010, a collection of her poetry was published by Dar ALTAKOUIN in Beirut. Between 2003 and 2014, she participated in a series of group exhibitions in Syria and France.
Kjetil Selvik, musician and scholar:
Political scientist specializing in comparative politics of the Middle East region. Selvik is currently working on civil-military relations in Syria and the politics of ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in Iran. His research interests include oil and development, business politics, media and democracy, and elections in hybrid regimes. Selvik is also Adjunct Professor at the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen.
Mey Sefan, choreographer, performance artist, dancer:
Syrian choreographer Mey Seifan is exploring the influence of consciousness and unconsciousness on the body in everyday life. She is also investigating the topic of the body in the time of war. In 2011, Mey started a documentation of dreams Syrians have had during the Syrian conflict and launched “The Syrian Dreams Project”. The first results of these examinations were a sequence of theatrical performances titled Destruction for Beginners, and a short movie titled Cocoon. Mey Sefan joined the first ballet school in Damascus in 1987, then continued her studies at The Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Frankfurt (1999 – 2003). After that she was working between Germany and Syria, as a dancer, dance pedagog, cultural manager and choreographer. she choreographed several projects such as Consequences, Contract, ElectroSofi, and founded The Damascus Contemporary Dance Platform and TANWEEN Company. Mey moved to Munich in 2011, were she is working now, and studying for her MA at the Theatre Studies Department in Ludwig Maximilian University. http://www.accesstodance.de/blog/26160/how-war-turns-into-bizarre-sceneries
Meyar Al Roumi, filmmaker:
Born in 1973 in Damascus, he studied Fine Arts in Damascus, and filmmaking at the University of Paris VIII, which opened the doors of Femis for him and finally graduated in 2001 as a Director of Photography. He has directed several documentaries `A silent film` (2001), `Waiting for the day` (2004), `The Club of the Future` (2006) and `Six ordinary Stories` (2007). After the release of his short fiction films, `The Voyage of Rabia` (2006) and `Round Trip` (2012), his first feature-length fiction is set to hit theaters in France in 2015. http://en.unifrance.org/directories/person/344509/meyar-al-roumi
Mohamad Al Roumi, artist-photographer:
Born in 1945 in Aleppo (Syria), a graduate of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1972. He launched his artistic career as a painter, later he turned into photography. He directed and participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions. His photographs are widely published and used in books, articles, themed exhibitions in various cultural fields in Syria, North America and Europe. His documentary, Blue-Grey, was released in 2002 in dozens of festivals around the world. It was followed by several other short films. Al Roumi is the founder of the Syrian Cultural Caravane.
Mohamad Omran, artist, sculptor:
Syrian artist Mohamad Omran is both a sculptor and a painter – Mohamad Omran was born in Damascus, Syria in 1979. He has organized several exhibitions and participated in group shows throughout Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and France. He received his BFA and High Diploma in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Damascus in 2002 and his Masters in the History of Contemporary Art from the University of Lyon, France in 2007. He is currently a PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of Lyon II. The relationship that Mohamad Omran establishes between the human form and his work is a very honest one. Using emotions as themes and their representations as sub-themes, he has recently developed his work into an expression of the unique modern-day Syrian human experience.
Mohanad Aljaramani, musician:
Born in 1979 in Sweida (Syria), he graduated from the National Conservatory of Music in Damascus in 2008 and co-founded the trio `Bab Assalam` with Raphaël Vuillard and Khaled Al Jaramani in Aleppo in 2007. He joined the troupe of the National Conservatory and that of the Damascus Opera from 2005 to 2011. He has performed concerts in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, including Mucem and opera in Marseille, and the Arab World Institute in Paris. He also collaborates with musicians like singer composer Abed Azrie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnsmEbhSPzY
Monif Ajaj, artist, painter:
Born in 1968 in Deir Ez-Zor, Syria. Monif Ajaj graduated from the Belarus Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk (Belarus) in 1995. Since then he has gone on to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, as well as to illustrate in children’s books. In 2006, he was awarded first prize for the Young Syrian Artist of the year. He had individual exhibitions at the Zara Gallery in Amman, Jordan (2004, 2007 and 2009), and group shows at Art Dubai (2011), Shaab Gallery in Damascus (2010), Khan Assad Pasha and Maktab Al Assad in Damascus (2006) and Dar al Founoun in Amman (2005). His artwork also forms part of private and national collections, such as the British Museum (London), Dar al Founoun (Amman), and the Ministry of Culture (Damascus). Monif Ajaj’s portraits are generally inspired by his daily life in Damascus and his childhood in Al Jezireh. His works engage the viewer with a penetrating gaze into life. He is highly dexterous in his drawing, his works are gender-exclusive to males, and almost life-size portraits depict Syrian society in a satirical way and are reminiscent of the works of early 20th century Western Artists, particularly Daumier. http://monif-ajaj.over-blog.com/
Muzaffar Salman, photographer:
Muzaffar Salman is a Syrian photographer interested in depicting humans and their impact on the world around them. He was born in Homs in 1976. He earned a diploma in photography from the International Professional Center in Homs, and a certificate of experience in archaeological restoration from the University of Warsaw in 2003.
Salman won the Crossing Glances Photography contest in Rome, Italy in 2006. He also won the Cultural Resource Contest held in Cairo for his project My Fingers Point to Butterflies Only, a book of photos illustrating the positive emotional power of Arab life and clarifying the Arab people’s relationship with others and with their surroundings. He has participated in exhibitions in Syria and around the world.
In early 2013, Salman participated in a project from which all proceeds went to Syrian refugees living in refugee camps. The project, entitled “Art in Exile,” was sponsored by the Danish Centre for Culture and Development and included works by nine Syrian artists and writers. These works were presented in the form of posters, photographs, books and postcards and were sold at the Resistant Syrian Art Exhibition, which was held at the Circular Tower in Copenhagen, Denmark through May 12, 2013.
Naïssam Jalal, musician:
Born in Paris from Syrian parents, she studied classical flute at the age of 6. At 17, she graduated from CFEM. The same year, the band funk Tarace Boulba drags on tour in Mali. At 19, she studied at the Grand nay Institute of Arabic Music in Damascus, Syria. Nevertheless, she worked in Cairo with the master violinist Abdo Dagher. She plays with the Egyptians Fathi Salama El Dor El Awal Bakash and then with African musicians like Tony Allen, Cheikh Tidiane Seck, Kiala, Fatoumata Diawara … She also collaborates with great names of international Jazz like Hamid Drake, Nelson Veras, Michael Blake, Hubert Dupont, and artists from the Arab world as the Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek. http://naissamjalal.com/
Omar Nicolas, artist, designer, publisher:
Born 1987 in Homs, Syria, is a designer, artist and publisher based in Berlin. Omar completed his Bachelor Studies at the Academy of Fine Art in Damascus. After that he finished his Master’s in Communication Design focusing on typography and book design at the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design. He is a co-founder of the publishing house „Fahras of publishing practices“, the art association „Syrian Association for Cultural Support“ and the Organisation „Syrien-FriedensKreis“. He worked as a book designer, performance artist and curator together with various artists and institutions (including Brandon LaBelle, Antje Majewski, Ljupcho Temelkovski, Sigal Souk / Goethe-Institut, Hamburger bahnhof Berlin , Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, Tanzfabrik, KuLe, Opernhaus Kiel, Oper Damaskus, Villa-Mansion Beirut). http://www.omarnicolas.de/
Shada Safadi, artist, painter:
Born 1982 in Majdal Shams, a city located in the Occupied Golan Heights. A founder member at Fateh Mudarris Center of Arts and Culture/ Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. Graduated from faculty of fine arts (Painting Section) at the University of Damascus / Syria in 2005. http://shadasafadi.blogspot.no/
Tammam Azzam, artist:
Born in 1980, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. Currently he lives and works in Dubai. In 2011, he joined the Al Kharif Academy where he studied under the guidance of Professor Marwan Kassab Bashi. Recently, he has participated in solo and group exhibitions like: Rush Arts, New York (2014); FotoFest Biennial, Houston (2014); Ayyam Gallery in London (2013); 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Slovenia (2013); Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2012, 2009) to name a few. Since 2012, his work ‘Graffiti Freedom‘ has circulated on social media platforms and networks, and has made headlines in international press. His most renowned work is `the Kiss` by Gustav Klimt, affixing this image of love on the walls of Damascus which were torn by the war. http://www.artnet.com/artists/tammam-azzam/
Walaa Dakak, artist, painter:
Born in 1978 in Syria, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Damascus. He moved to Paris in 2004 to continue his studies and his work. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Paris in Arts and Sciences focusing on aesthetic arts, while on the same hand, he continues to paint and make design installations.
Walid El Masri, artist, painter:
Born in 1979 in Syria, he is currently living in Paris. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2005, after that he joined the Summer Academy led by Marwan Kassab Bashi at Darat Al-Funun (Amman, Jordan). He works with the Ayyam Gallery since 2007. Walid El Masri has participated in several exhibitions: the Art Beijing Contemporary Art Fair (2009); Art Hong Kong Art Fair (2009), The Busan Museum of Art (2014); Samsung Blue Square, Seoul (2014); the Arab World Institute, Paris (2014). He also performs solo shows in London, Paris, Jeddah, Beirut, Dubai and Damascus. walidelmasri.net
Yaser Safi, artist, painter:
Born in 1976 in Qamishli (Syria), he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1997. He then continued studying graphic design at the same university he graduated from in 1999. He has taught graphic design at the University of Damascus and the Fine Arts in Damascus and the Art Institute of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). In 2010, he participated in the Tripoli-Leipzig workshop, a Lebanese-German cooperation. He also participated in numerous exhibitions in the Arab world and Europe and his work was appreciated with several awards, like the Biannual Lattakia prize and the Cervantes honourary award from the Institute of Damascus (2000).