In conversation with Syrian artist Anas Homsi
The Middle East's latest emerging visual voice
Dima and Nikki are the Co-Founders of EMERGEAST – the first online gallery, which promotes and sells original contemporary artworks by up and coming Middle Eastern artists
Buro 24/7's columnists Dima and Nikki talk travel and transition with Middle Eastern artist Anas Homsi, and delve into how daily war-torn Syria has become a catalyst for the emerging painter...
Syrian artist Anas Homsi — who is represented by EMERGEAST since the platform's inception — has created a body of work that has attracted the attention of many young and cultured collectors alike. As one of our top selling EMERGEAST artists, we catch up with Homsi to find out more about his inspirations today and how he is gearing up for his highly anticipated move to the art city of the world — Berlin. As a prolific emerging artist from the Middle East, Homsi's move to the West is set to catapult the Syrian artist to further international recognition...
In one sentence, who is Anas Homsi?
Anas Homsi is just a human looking for peace, hope, giving and love in this world.
How do you seek inspiration?
I get my inspiration from life, people, nature, the bustle of the city and all the feelings that people give me. I think I have the capacity to delve deeper into everything around me and to discover what's behind a façade through my canvas.
You began your artistic career in your hometown of Damascus, Syria... But did your relocation to Beirut, Lebanon, influence your art?
When I started to create new works in Beirut, I knew that my heart remained in the place where I grew up. Beirut provided me with the opportunity to continue my work as an artist. In Beirut there are many great art galleries that have showcased my artworks and I continue to exhibit from Beirut with my first solo exhibition at the Art Circle gallery - but it is Syria that remains in my heart and my paintings.
WHEN I MOVED TO THE CITY OF BEIRUT, I CARRIED WITH ME ALL OF MY MEMORIES FROM MY LIFE IN THE CITY OF DAMASCUS — WHERE I WAS INFLUENCED BY THE HORRORS OF WAR IN MY COUNTRY.
Early in your art career, you successfully established your signature style, grabbing the attention of many collectors. Will the Anas Homsi trademark continue or are your collectors in for a surprise?
What remains the same in my artwork is the texture, the surface embossing and the relief, which like me and like my view of life helps me create the many layers in my paintings that record my memories. This is also what makes my paintings rich and vivid. I expect in the future to work on very large canvases to capture this essence more and more. I also expect that I will work in black and white or monochrome, which is previously unseen. I see myself in the future also working on video art, conceptual art, photography, performance art and installation art. Definitely stay tuned!
Tell us more about the figures present in each of your artworks... What or who do they represent?
All of the figures in my artworks represent faces and bodies and abstract things coming directly from my memory and in a manner that is spontaneous and very honest too. These figures can interact with each other, find themselves somewhere where they settle on the canvas, and perform different expressions and emotions — I can't explain their behavior and I can't control them because they came from my unconscious mind. I actually see them alive as if someone is sitting in front of me. I don't deal with my paintings as canvas plus colours, I deal with my artwork as a creature, alive and I want it to stay alive.
From Damascus to Beirut to your highly anticipated move to Berlin, what can a European and globally cultural landscape offer Anas Homsi?
We can expect much more production and development of my work moving forward. What could Berlin give me as an artist in the future? Artworks richer in thought and higher in cultural influences given my Eastern background — a result of dealing with a more dynamic artists' society and also as a result of continuing my academic studies there.
Lastly what is your message as an artist to your audience?
My message as an artist is a message of peace to this world. I hope to add something with high value to any new society that I enter and that I can create an important picture to beautify our lives and our societies.