Omran Younis, Syrian artist

Born in Al-Hasakah, Syria in 1971
Lives and works in Damascus, Syria

Omran Younes has been active in the Arab art scene since the late 1990s. After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1998, he went on to obtain a Masters degree in Fine Arts in 2000. Having been featured in exhibitions throughout the Middle East and in the US, he is the recipient of several awards, notably the first prize recipient of the 3rd Annual Youth Competition in Damascus.

Today his work is housed in collections across the Arab world. Omran Younes’ large canvases are distinguished by detailed investigations into human subjects. His continual explorations of various styles of expressionist painting have culminated in a noticeable pursuit of elevating his art to its highest form. He has demonstrated this versatility throughout his career and frequently works within a specific theme, with each series dedicated to particular experiments and breakthroughs in art.

Belonging to a group of artists that emerged amidst the legacy of Syrian modernism, Omran Younes has sought to further the accomplishments of his predecessors while fashioning his own path through the visual language of contemporary art. The result has been a brand of painting that mixes bold social commentary with an acute sense of observation and a confident command of medium and technique.

Artist’s statement:

The energy of the line, the precise moment between life and death … this is this question I try to answer. Between what is graphic ‒in the perspective of the arrangement of space‒ and what is related to the force of the line, how these lines that range from black to white may not be spontaneous as they are intermingled within you, breathe life into your forms and your surfaces, record the movement inside the form and work on them so as to render the lines perennials?

In terms of theme and treatment, I end up with the murderer in the same room. It is as if we were fighting on the white canvas and thick lines were all deep wounds. It is as if I were working surfaces with a knife. This is my injury, my grief, and the murderer, full of hatred, continues to draw gunfire. What is this truth in front of me? So much blood, so many shootings, so many deaths! Their screams never leave me, the terrible moment of death turns into a nightmare in my dreams. Who are you, O Death, so to float above our heads, to seize all that is alive? These are the children of my country and I am totally helpless! Death destroys a living every second of every minute. I am caught between Edvard Munch’s Scream and Goya’s Nightmares. Hear my cry: Stop the killings in my country!

Omran Younis, Damascus 2014

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