YASER AL GHARBI
Yaser Mohammed Noor Al Gharbi is a Syrian painter and calligrapher based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since December 2010.
Yaser’s interest in art began as a child, and despite later studying law at university, he followed his passion and chose to pursue a career as an artist, exhibiting for the first time in 2004 at the University of Aleppo. He consistently incorporates Arabic calligraphy in his works, a talent Yaser describes as ‘the gift of God’, though one that required many years to refine and mature. Through time, Yaser grew attached to the shapes, forms and configurations of Arabic letters, and regards them as a hugely significant form of Arab heritage. As an artist, Yaser immerses himself in a continuous phase of experimentation and exploration, employing an array of different techniques in his works such as engraving on canvas, embossed free hand colours, inks and collage.
His works include verses from the Quran, and frequently refer to the sayings and poetry of Ibn Arabi, widely regarded as one of the most important scholars of Sufism. Whilst strikingly contemporary, Yaser’s canvases also pay homage to centuries of Arab civilization, underlining his view that his culture and heritage will always endure. ‘As the revolution enters its 5th year, so many great Syrian people are still here despite all the weapons of murder used against them under different labels and banners’.
His decision to leave Syria and relocate to Riyadh in 2010, shortly before the conflict took root in Syria, was spurred on by the same sense of widespread injustice and persecution that would soon lead to popular revolt. For Yaser, however, there is no escaping the implications of the conflict for Syrians, irrespective of where they may be. Referring to his own experience of watching on from Saudi Arabia, he expresses his concern for family members that stayed behind. Equally, he feels a profound sense of obligation to help those who remain in difficult circumstances, as well as a desire to play an active role in shaping the future of his homeland.
Yaser recently spoke of the situation in Syria and the impact he hopes his art will have: "There is no doubt that what is happening in my country may have a negative psychological impact not only on me and my future plans and my internal thinking, but it has also had a positive impact on my work; I am more and more determined to work so that I may through my art help even one person from my country, and maybe even more people from what looks to be a dark future. I am in search for a new life for my son .. and perhaps for a new homeland too." - Yaser Al Gharbi