Fadi Al Hamwi,  Syrian artist

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1986
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Damascene artist Fadi Al Hamwi holds a BA Degree in Fine Arts (2010), major in oil and mural painting, from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Damascus. As a multimedia artist (painting, video, installation), he has participated in numerous solo exhibitions and produced installations in Damascus and Beirut. He joined many collective exhibitions in Damascus, Beirut, Dubai, London, in Canada and the USA. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Fadi Al-Hamwi’s body of work shows a preoccupation with translating the human experience of war, rather than producing art with a political message. His art explored the lack of humanity in the Syrian war, exposing men and woman stripped to the structure of their bones. He gives a face to war and has offered a fresh and human perspective on the conflict.

Artit’s statement

My work employs sarcasm as a tool to criticize social traditions, beliefs and superstitions. Sarcasm triggers the viewer’s attention and curiosity through critically addressing comic-tragic realities. Humour allows the viewer to enter the space of criticism without directly activating defence mechanisms. Society minus 180° invites the onlooker to rethink social structures and his/her position within this structure. Social and environmental imbalances are prominently accentuated through war and mass death.

From a social context, the work moves closer to the individual’s naturalistic form expressed through its human-animal relationship. Using techniques, such as x-ray, to go beyond the obvious and into the unseen of the individual form. This takes the concept of addressing human social nature to instinctual animal physicality and psychological human states of mind.

The “x-ray” technique exposes layers and realities that add a harsh element to the human nature. It expresses the animal-human relationship through symbolism and the connection of bones; the recurring human jaw element allows the viewer to connect to the animal container and receive it as his own regardless of its challenging cruelty. The works portray imperceptible thoughts of violence and brutal instincts of killing and how war provokes them manifesting the dark side of humanity.

The owl has been associated with several myths and legends. For some, it embodies wisdom and is associated with the Greek deity Diana. For others, the creature is associated with the hunt itself. It may be that this dichotomy is reflected in Hamwi’s decision to depict the beast in white – suggesting wisdom – and black – evoking darkness.

My works shifted from a wide social perspective in the early works of 2010-2012 to an uncensored scrutiny of psychosomatic dimensions in 2013 – 2014 and recently onto the marriage of both.

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