“I am always inspired by the streets and the social relationships in our communities, where complex interactions play a big role,” says Syrian artist Yasser Safi. “Solitude is very rare in our communities, there’s always rich social interaction [and] that can often be exhausting. These complexities incite you to raise questions about the relationship with oneself and one’s relationship to others.”

Born in Qamishli, Yasser Safi (1976) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University in 1997. He brings to life a cast of abstractly rendered characters that emerge from his imagination and experiences. His pictorial language appears naïve but is connected to the symbolism or contradictions found in childhood – profound meanings concealed behind simplicity.

The characters are composed on the canvas in an associative way, floating yet in relationship to the space of their solidly coloured backgrounds. He draws parallels between worlds in his work, representing street life in Damascus and Berlin while drawing inspiration from ancient Oriental and Islamic art.  

Yasser Safi’s works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions across the Middle East and Europe. They can also be found in many private collections and museums, including The National Museum in Damascus; British Museum, London; Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin and The National Museum, Jordan.