Rana Hatmal, Syrian Artist

Born in Damascus, Syria
Lives and works in Montreal, Canada

Rana Hatmal’s experience as an architect influences the construction and design of her art. Her use of space is minimalistic yet sufficient to express the richness of her inspirations. As a result, her work juxtaposes complementarity and contrast between the subjects depicted and the colors used. This duality originates in the older religions of the Orient and is part of the DNA of those who preceded us and continues through us. Despite the challenges and the changes that she is going through in her new life in Canada, she continues to believe that freedom is a choice that each of us could make. Rana has held solo exhibitions and has participated in several group shows in Damascus, Beirut, Paris, Toronto and Montreal.

Duality, Freedom and Migration are key themes in Rana Hatmal’s paintings. The steps we take during our life, what guides us and what hinders or propels our flight are all in our minds. If the artist relies on her roots to draw paths in different shades of colours, she has a concern about the future, yet it is the present that matters the most. To break the chains and give free will to our senses, our emotions and gestures, we need the freedom in which our souls flourish. We could be like birds in flight, free to explore, free to point and draw. What counts is not so much the horizon or the end of the road, but above all the freedom of movement, a freedom so dear, but increasingly restricted, in a world that, in its frightening acceleration, leaves no more room to savour the present.

Artist’s statement

My current project deals with one overriding theme, namely “hope”, and specifically hope for and of liberty, as reflected by two symbolic elements. The first element is represented by the extremities—feet and hands—with their free-flowing movements, compounded in different interlaced compositions marked by spontaneity, in one hand; while the birds represent the second element, that of free movement. Both elements converge in their symbolic meaning, and their representation of motion.

The drawings employ the acrylic on canvas technique. I have, however, added a different medium in one of them, with the aim of creating a relief-type of raised surface on the canvas. This helps highlight the contrast between the black and white, while simultaneously displaying the harmony between the two basic elements—the feet and the birds.

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