Hannibal Srouji: An artist on fire
Srouji's paintings explore the relationship between light and colors
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Lebanese artist Hannibal Srouji was born in December 1957 in Beirut. He spent most of his youth in Sidon until he was forced to emigrate due to the Lebanese war. In 1978, he graduated in Montreal, Canada, with a diploma in sociology and then got enrolled in Concordia University where he obtained a Bachelor in Fine Arts.
He then moved to France to continue his studies in fine arts before coming back to Concordia University where he was granted a Doctorate in fine arts, specializing in drawing
For Srouji, paintings are genuine manifestation of the relationship between light and colors, and he worked this bond with great finesse to get the desired artistic effect.
“I have replaced light with fire, which is an embodiment of destruction, fear and ashes,” said Srouji.
Such a shift was the result of his pent-up frustration as Srouji’s life was deeply influenced by the fierce war that swept Lebanon, and greatly influenced the identity of his art.
“All my paintings from the 80s to the 90s mirror the changes brought about by the devastation in Lebanon after we were caught in the maelstrom of the war,” said Srouji.
A Lebanese critic said that she could recognize Srouji’s paintings from the way he manipulates the techniques of lights, luminescence, and darkness on canvas. The hidden nooks in the painting are a unique style and hallmark of Srouji’s art, according to the critic.
“The beginning of a painting is built point by point, stroke by stroke, shape by shape, bit by bit, quietly describing what I previously envisioned to create,” said Srouji.
The Lebanese civil war forced Srouji to immigrate to Montreal where he attained greater academic achievements in art. It also offered him a window of opportunity to a bustling artistic movement in the Western world. Nevertheless, he remained loyal to his hometown Sidon whose scent of jasmine still stays in his memory.
“Flowers are the connecting points between life and death. They mirror the rebirth of Lebanon,” said Srouji.
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