Boutros Al Maari, Syrian Artist
Born 1968 in Damascus, Syria
Lives and works in Hamburg, Germany
Boutros Al Maari received his diploma in Graphic Arts from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. He received his Master in Social Anthropology (EHESS), in 1999 in Paris, where he earned his doctorate in 2006 in the same area. From 2008 to 2012 he worked as a Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. After having resided for many years in France, he has relocated in Hamburg, Germany.
Al Maari has been a prolific author, writer and cartoonist in many arabic and international newspapers and publications. The artist has also participated in numerous exhibitions worldwide, such as: 2018 Solo exhibition, Galerie Europia, Paris, France; 2017 Solo exhibition, Raum für Syrien, Hamburg, Germany; 2017 Solo exhibition, Tajalliyat Art Gallery, Damascus, Syria; 2016 Aad-Doukkaneh, Solo exhibition, Tajalliyat Art Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon; 2016: (Shopping carts, selfie sticks and a changing earth – Contemporary Art), Jeddah, K. of Saudi Arabia; 2016 Imago Mundi, Venice, Italy.
Both cultural contexts are reflected in his distinctive paintings. Blending elements of Western and Oriental art, Al Maari work captures familiar Damascus haunts like the iconic Al-Nawfara Café. Elsewhere, he places historic Western leaders in settings familiar to Arabic culture, as seen in his painting Louis XIV Playing Mahbousheh (2013).
In his nostalgic, idyllic world, the best of Syria and France are peacefully united. His paintings are rife with references from art history, with titles such as A Tribute to Cézanne (2009) or Van Gogh and Gauguin (2012), all rendered in his unique style, with the figures painted in monochromatic tones and elongated, caricatured faces, set against either starkly dark or stylistically colourful backgrounds, depending on what the scene dictates.