With an interest in hunting and fishing, the subject of much of Ezekiel Toros’ artwork revolves around Syrian nature, monuments and the ancient streets of Aleppo.
Born in Kharbut, Turkey, Assyrian Ezekiel Toros (1912–1984) moved to Aleppo with his family in 1916 during the Sayfu massacres. A self-taught artist, he later trained classically under his well-known mentor Mohammed Ghaleb Salem. In 1936, Toros created his first painting and held a solo exhibition that year in his shop, where he worked as a watchmaker. Encouraged by his friends, he hosted a second exhibition of his work seven years later, where he sold all of his 54 paintings. A prolific artist, he went on to create over 1500 artworks in his lifetime and exhibited throughout Syria alongside contemporaries such as Fateh Moudarres.
Pictured frequently with a palette knife in hand, he depicted scenes – and occasionally people – using techniques of realism that sometimes leaned towards impressionism, with his treatment of light and the way in which he applied the paint. The last exhibition in his lifetime took place at Tishreen Gallery in Aleppo in 1977, and a large retrospective of his work was held there in 1999.