Primarily known for figurative work, Ghylan Safadi explains: "My painting is in constant development… my experience[s] are becoming more and more clear, and I have been inclined for some time to black and white because they represent depression.” 

Born in Soueida, Ghylan Safadi (1977) graduated from the Department of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University in 2002. Designing shadow puppets for performances, he went on to found Al Qimma (The Peak) in Soueida, a specialised institute to teach theatre and art to children. 

While Safadi’s styles have evolved throughout his career, his dedication to the figure – whether in portraits or groups – has remained constant. His prominent linework in almost monochromatic colours renders bleak characters, and even ‘party’ scenes take on a serious or ominous atmosphere. Based on people he has encountered, or famous figures, they become narrative vignettes, symbolic of Safadi’s perception of current socio-political realities.

Safadi’s works have been shown in international solo and group exhibitions including the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Lighthouse Gallery in London, Paris, Germany and Japan; and Bahrain Art Fair. His works are housed in collections in Syria, Lebanon, France, the UK, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and the US.