Is a visual artist of Syrian origin living in Canada, has studied at the Damascus Faculty of Fine Arts where he went on to earn a postgraduate degree. During these years he was mentored by some of the great pioneers of Syrian art, who in turn studied at a series of European schools in Italy, Russia and France.
Alhenawi was equally impressed with their approach in both the realism and modern realism representations.
He was initially inspired by classical artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, followed by the impressionists and expressionists, Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Contemporary artists such as Lucian Freud also left a big impression upon him.
Hamad alhenawi has thoroughly studied all of these artists and their lives but has developed his own method and experience that has distinguished him from others.
Therefore his work is closer to realism but is characterized by an innovative and unique way of receiving reality, whether it be in painting nature or portraiture. At the beginning of his artistic career in the years from 1991 to 1994, he worked on a project inspired by the modest Syrian environment where he grew up.
He combined the elements of the regions nature and the daily lives of it’s people through a series of paintings. After 1995, he created a world of his own that is closer to abstraction and similar to what the eye sees through the microscope to prove that the forms of life, no matter how different, are one. The forms artists invent, even in the extreme cases of abstraction are eventually inspired by natural forms.
After the Syrian revolution of 2011, the artist was also affected by the barbaric scenes he witnessed on a daily basis. He expressed his feelings in the form of paintings that contained direct humanitarian messages, using new raw materials and elements such as barbed wire, nails, fabric, stones and other three-dimensional materials. He then moved on to a stage overshadowed by the color black which mostly contained a human component, especially in portraiture. During that period, he painted a set of realistic portraits that reflected all the contradictions of human emotion including joy, sadness, blackness and whiteness. It was an attempt to purify ugliness by revealing it and expressing the rejection of the modern mans brutality all over the world, the man who has developed technically, but not morally.
It was his way of conveying the man who failed miserably in his test in Syria, some of the worst trauma humanity has ever witnessed in modern times.
His work condemns the acts of murder and violence that sometimes equate humans with animals. He was also expressing the impact of the shock that the artist suffered from as a result of the everyday violence meted out in his home country by both the regime and the Islamic extremists.
It was also his way of expressing his dismay at the lack of intervention by the powerful countries to prevent these horrid atrocities. After many years, the artist felt, just like all Syrians, the disappointment and futility of the situation. To his eternal disappointment, he discovered that art was unable to change anything in this ugly world.
Hamad alhenawi then returned to painting nature, which he considers “the mother of all arts” and the most important source of creativity and balance, on both a personal and artistic level. This stage is characterized by optimism and hope, which is reflected by his vibrant colors.
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- Montreal, QC, Canada
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