Describing the motivations and process behind his paintings, in 2016, artist Hasko Hasko explained: “When I gain freedom by painting, the shapes become more and more beautiful and honest, considering that the attempt to show the greatest beauty possible is in itself a form of resistance against the atrocity of [the Syrian war]. Rather than giving an ideological sense to art, artists should seek to stay true to their creative and individual paths along their artistic journey.''
Born in Afreen, Hasko Hasko (1973) graduated from the Department of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University in 2000. He fled the Syrian war to Turkey and then made the dangerous voyage on a lifeboat through the Mediterranean, finally settling in Denmark in 2014. Documenting the journey, his resulting illustrations were exhibited at The Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, as well as in a comic that was published in Britain’s The Guardian and the Norwegian newspaper, Aftenposten in 2015.
In his paintings, Hasko’s themes continue to evolve over time but predominantly focus on animals, plant-life, rural scenes or mythology. Using acrylic paint and mixed media, he depicts representational subjects on a flat plane in subtle colours. In his characteristic contemporary style, smaller areas of the canvases are overlayed with images, one on top of the other, or roughly drawn over and over. Typically, larger swathes around the subjects are then layered with broad frenetic strokes and almost whited out.
Hasko has exhibited in Syria, the UK, US, Iraq, Qatar, Lebanon, the UAE, Norway, Denmark and Turkey.