Art is a form of expression, an exchange of cultures and ideas conveyed via an aesthetic experience.
I believe that great art connects us to each other and to the places where we live, work and play. It inspires and challenges us and provokes us to examine our world around us and ask questions. As an artist, I have a responsibility to bring current social issues for public awareness to think critically. Ultimately, art builds community by bringing people together in a literal sense—gathering audiences at events, exhibitions and most recently on social media platforms allow us gain shared understanding. Through my art, I seek to raise awareness in a unique style that connects with people of all ages for better informed and engaged communities.
Khawam’s recent work was influenced by today’s socio-political issues such as chaos, displacement, war and immigration, and premised on the idea that challenges our vision of Syria’s urban scenes in its war-torn cities and structured through our own varying positions. The use of expressive brush strokes weaves together images of geometric and organic shapes, some are abstract and others are recognized objects scattered across the canvas with hints of the architecture that suggest chaos and hope in an urban scene which intensify our experience.
Khawam’s primary focus is of his birthplace – the city of Aleppo with urban scenes of collapsed apartment floors, fallen balconies, curved rooftops, debris and punched holes in building facades. The painting series reveal haunting and disturbing scenes and intentionally was painted with a palette of joyful color fields and shapes that emerge from the canvas with a vigorous life-force. A fantastical place of fear, desire, refuge, conquest and decay, the Syrian conflict has played an increasingly important role in creating a subject matter with a unique style that connect people through art. His interest in portraying the socio-political issues of the multi-cultural and social disturbances is well presented and has an aesthetic sense of the sublime.
Khawam’s sculpture of “Urbanism” in his Cascading Facades series are purely abstract shapes that intuitively generate a structural relationship of light and space. The sculpture works with entangled architectural materials and ordinary modern household objects and shapes which strongly suggest the human figure. The structure of the sculpture is based on repeated geometric shapes in different sizes, juxtaposed and tumbling towards the base. The sculptures are inspired by bare building frameworks of skeleton-like apartment buildings, a depiction of the falling facades, windows, doors, balconies, railings and debris that make it almost intact despite the collapsed structures.
The process for each painting starts with a loose sketch of different architectural shapes and construction materials that are interweaved with fallen household items from the buildings. The underpainting sketch is done from media references, photos sent by his friends still in Syria and photos taken by the artist during his visit to Syria in November, 2018. The construction of the underpainting usually with broad brush allow the forms and color to appear through layers of paint and the use of different media intensify our experience. The deconstruction process takes place with layers of paint with emphasis on forms, color and texture using expressive strokes to finish the painting with fragmented semi-abstract style of the real and imaginary urban scenes.