Influenced by his memories of Syria, artist, theorist and critic Asaad Arabi has continuously reinvented his painting style in an attempt to depict the rhythms and sensuality of figures and cityscapes. Oscillating between representation and abstraction and sometimes bridging them together, the colour fields and forms that make up his canvases have a lyrical quality to them. In fact, music as an inspiration or even as a subject has a recurring role in his work, for he has “always felt that there is an association between music and form. When I listen to music, I can imagine certain forms taking shape, and when I look at the city, I can feel the musicality in it.”

Born in Damascus, Asaad Arabi (1941) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus before moving to Paris, France in 1975, where he received a diploma in painting from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts, and subsequently earned a PhD in Aesthetics from the Sorbonne University. 

In different series throughout his lengthy career, Arabi skilfully uses composition and colour in harmony, creating a unity between all the pieces. In the defined colour blocks of his abstract works, viewers gradually discern figures, architectural forms and patterns, while in his figurative works bodies are painted in hues that merge with their environments. 

Arabi’s works are housed in public and private collections such as Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; the Barcelona Contemporary Museum of Art; the National Museum, New Delhi; the National Museum of Korea, Seoul; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah.