Usama Alnassar, Italian-Syrian sculptor

Born in Damascus, Syria in 1975
Lives and works in Carrara, Italy

Usama Alnassar was born into a Christian Damascene family with a great artistic tradition – his maternal uncles are both internationally renowned sculptors. He holds a degree in Fine Arts from Damascus, Syria (1997) and from the Accademia di Belle Arti de Carrare, Italy (2006). He has lived in Italy since 1999, and has never returned to Syria.

Like so many other sculptors before him, he chose the Apuan Alps as the ideal location to work and develop his artistic talents. His studio is situated at the base of Michelangelo’s marble quarries; a magical place, nestled amongst a highly evocative landscape. He has also built an amphitheatre here, sculpted out of marble, where he holds concerts, performances and other art shows. At his open-air studio, he runs sculpture courses whose success continues to grow, and which attract students from all over the world.

Usama Alnassar is an eclectic artist who works with wood, bronze, and of course marble. His pieces reflect his status as a migrant, from Syria to Europe, which harbours countless stories and images. The most recurrent theme is that of encounters between people, between different cultures and societies. Art and Love are the instruments used to break down the barriers between individuals, physical barriers of geographic distance, as well as the cultural or social barriers impeding dialogue and relations with others.

The aim of Usama Alnassar’s artistic research is to go beyond all these barriers, and ensure “diversity does not prevent encounters”. In the series entitled “Love and Gravity”, encounters are represented by a man and woman who manage to “meet”, despite each having different “gravity” and “directions”.

The artist’s last piece is a monumental sculpture measuring more than three metres high, crafted out of statuary marble from Michelangelo’s quarries. Standing at the entrance to the Ciccio restaurant in Bocca di Magra, it overlooks the little bay, and has two emblematic names: Porta del mare (Door of the Sea) for those pass through it heading for the port, an Porta dell’Amore (Door of Love) for those entering for the pleasure of social interaction.

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