RIYADH: Syrian artist Ahmed Elias is showcasing a collection of 51 soulful masterpieces in Riyadh that represent his feelings about the beauty and suffering of his home country.
The exhibition, “Stations and Rhythms,” is Elias’ first solo show since 2005. It runs at Mahed Alfonon Gallery at Almousa Center until Nov. 30.
Elias, born in 1954, told Arab News: “Syria is my beloved, and her joy is my joy. Anything that hurts her brings a sword into my heart and into my liver. She is certainly my inspiration, and the artist is a creature sensitive to feelings and sentiments.
“It is natural that Syria (evokes) strong feelings with the grave and painful events that happen there,” he continued. “I have summarized what is happening in Syria in an abstract, expressive way.”
One of his paintings — “Anemones will bloom from the blood of innocents and martyrs with the dawning of a new day” — depicts bright mosaics, skulls, and a flower blooming in the center, signifying hope in a time of despair.
“I choose colors according to the composition and expression of the painting, but I prefer combinations that call for and reflect hope, optimism, and visual comfort — such as blue and its derivatives — and what reflects fertility, growth, and psychological comfort, such as green and its derivatives,” Elias said, adding that he believes art serves a purpose beyond aesthetics.
“Art is a visual food that conveys beauty and creates psychological comfort through visuals,” he explained. “It reflects the stage in which that society lives, and we have not learned about ancient civilizations except through their art.”
Elias first discovered his talent when he was four years old, when his mother brought him his first set of art supplies. In 1981, he graduated from the College of Fine Arts in Damascus, specializing in interior design. But despite having more than 40 years of experience, he said he continues to learn about art through artists and art lovers.
“I develop this experience from one exhibition to another because contact with exhibition-goers enhances the experience and benefits the artist,” he said. “Everyone, whatever their specialty, benefits from experiences and develops their expertise, and a person continues to learn and obtain experience and knowledge as long as they are alive.”
More information on Ahmed Elias can be found at ahmad.elias.artist on Instagram.