Oussama Diab, Syrian-Palestinian artist

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1977
Lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands 

His canvases, conveying anguish, but also a hint of hope, attest to the current state of humankind. Oussama Diab reproduces man as a single and dual being, both king and servant.

Based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, since 2015, Syrian-Palestinian artist Oussama Diab has made a name for himself through several collective exhibitions in the Emirates, in Cairo and in Canada. His dynamic, expressive work seeks to engage in humanity’s progress, which is why he focuses on perpetuating predecessors, who he admits have influenced him. As such, one may notice a touch of Picasso, but also Basquiat and Munch. “Why, he says, doesn’t history repeat itself?”. In this artistic spiral, Oussama Diab, who was born living and breathing art, establishes a link here, presenting, for example, this piece, which is both complex and highly realistic, and which he christened “Kings, Masks and Other Things”.

Dynamism and worry“Touching sorrow to extract the pain”. Such are the words of Oussama Diab, who translates his anguish into this asexual, two-headed, ambivalent being, which he reproduces in several situations. “Everyone has inside them two opposing characters (reference to the masks). Then there are the kings who rule over the peaceful human masses, often training them in violent projects, when all these enslaved men want is peace (reference to the flower and revolver)”. Both sexes combine in one single body, as the main issue is to shed light on humankind in general. “Globalisation has made us universal beings interested in all the world’s problems. That’s why the human entity I present is weighed down by all these torments.”

On these large-scale canvases, in which the artist appropriates the colour to reinvent it, the unpolished, often washed paint and intense hues demonstrate the contrast in man’s chaotic state. Like on a theatre stage, “for isn’t life a comedy?”, says the artist, the characters sometimes watching the audience. Filled with anguish and pain, their eyes meet those on the outside, and search them. The canvas series appear to constitute several stages, as in the phases of a human life, and the closer one gets to those more recent, the more the characters disrobe, removing their masks, and those of the embryos withdraw into themselves – perhaps seeking their lost essence.

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