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[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.

TONY KHAWAM was born in Aleppo, Syria and now lives and works in Florida. He was a frequent visitor to Aleppo and Damascus National Museums during childhood which exposed him to the art of ancient civilizations that shaped his current artistic direction with influences of post-war German and American modern art.

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 painted with a palette of joyful color fields and shapes that emerge from the canvas with a vigorous life force.

Khawam’s recent work is influenced by post World War II artists such as Willem de Kooning, Joseph Beuys, Gerard Richter and Anselm Kiefer especially in their innovative approach in their process and the use of materials. In 2016, he started an online gallery and curated a number of exhibitions dealing with multiculturalism and socio-political issues, such as war, displacement and immigration. The gallery has been active in communities of Florida and New York Metro area, as well as present at a series of highly regarded multicultural art exhibitions and gallery spaces.

The Process: The materials used in the recent “Aleppo” and “Chaos” series are inspired by the human made fabric, household objects and urban architecture which are exclusively human characteristics and are features of human societies. The debris of man made objects with the use of materials are the focus of the recent work, such as acrylic paint, dye yarn hand made knitting, burlap and resin on canvas that intensify our visual experience. Khawam uses references from multiple sources including the media, his own photography and elements from his culture and current urban residential as the frontline for order and chaos that lead to displacement and immigration.

Biography

Education
1985 – Bachelor Degree of Fine Art, The School of Visual Arts, New York, NY
1987 – Advanced studies in Advertising and Graphic Design, Montclair State University, NJ

Professional Career
Artist-curator, creative designer and curator of a number of exhibits focusing on cultural heritage and current issues for building cultural understanding, fostering interest, awareness through arts and culture.

Solo Exhibitions
2019 – Art Miami Context Art Fair Dec 4-8, Miami, FL
2019 – Art Palm Beach Art Fair Jan 17-21, Palm Beach Convention Center, West Palm Beach, FL
2018 – Design Center of the Americas, interior designers special event exhibition, Ft Lauderdale, FL
2017 – “Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo” Ft Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center, FL
2018 – Artexpo New York Art Fair, April 19-22, NYC Pier 94
2018 – Art Palm Beach Art Fair Jan 17-21, Palm Beach Convention Center, West Palm Beach, FL
2017 – Miami Art Week at Red Dot Art Fair Dec 6-10, 2017, Miami, FL
2017 – “Spiritual Vessels” Bailey Contemporary Arts, Pompano Beach (Ft Lauderdale), FL
2017 – “Florida International Trade and Cultural Expo” Ft Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center, FL
2006 – Walter Wickiser gallery, New York, NY
2005 – CS Schulte gallery, Millburn, NJ
2003 – Simon Gallery, Morristown, NJ
2000 – Walter Wickiser gallery, New York, NY
2000 – “Emerging New Jersey Artists” Morris Museum of Art, Morristown, NJ
1998 – Merck/Sharing Plough HQ gallery at Giralda Farms estates, Madison, NJ
1997 – O.K. Harris Works of Art gallery, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions
2019 – “Emerging Art From War-Torn Syria: War & Hope” group theme exhibit

Oct 12 – Dec 30 “30th Anniversary Season Preview at ArtServe, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Oct 9-10 at Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo, Ft Lauderdale/Broward Convention Center
Oct 4-6 at Verasoni, 271 Rt 46 W., Fairfield, NJ
Sept 27-29, Syrian Arts & Culture Center, 352, 86th St. Brooklyn, NY
2019 – “Culturally Diverse” diversity in South Florida, Bailey Contemporary Arts, Pompano Beach, FL
2018 – “Interior designers gala” Design Center of the Americas, Ft Lauderdale, FL
2017 – “Truth and Reconciliation” Little Haiti Cultural Complex Gallery, Miami, FL
2017 – “Art Boca Raton” Int’l Pavilion of the Palm Beaches at Florida Atlantic University, FL
2017 – “Art Palm Beach” Palm Beach Convention Center, West Palm Beach, FL
1998 – “The New Jersey Fine Arts Annual”, The Montclair Art Museum, NJ
1997 – “Urban Painters” O.K. Harris Works of Art, Ivan Karp curator, New York, NY

Grants and Awards
2020 – “Florida Artist Profile award” 50th anniversary, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
2020 – “Community Engagement Project award” Florida Humanities Council, FL
2019 – “Creative Investment Program award” Broward County Division of Culture, FL
2002 – “Artists Fellowship award” Mid-Atlantic region
1998 – “Innovative Works on Paper and Printmaking Project” Rutgers University, NJ
1997 – “Artist in Residence, NJ Series” Geraldine Dodge Foundation

Artist Workshops
2020 – “Artists at the Community Development Table” Americans For the Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
2019 – “Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute” Broward County Division of Culture, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Curatorial and Art Advisory
2000-2002 Merrill Lynch, assistant art advisor, corporate art collections, 2 annual exhibits Princeton, NJ
1993-1999 MetLife assistant art advisor, corporate art collections, 2 annual exhibits MeLife Gallery, NYC

Curatorial Exhibitions
2020 – “Crossing Borders: Artists From the Middle East and America” (catalog).
2019 – “Emerging Art From War-Torn Syria: War & Hope” New York, New Jersey, and Florida (catalog).
2018 – “Culturally Diverse” a look at diversity in the arts and the immigrant’s contributions to art, FL and NJ.
2001 – “New York” from Merrill Lynch collection, Rauschenberg, Motherwell, and Oldenburg, Princeton, NJ.
1997 – “A Mark of Excellence” from Raritan Valley College at MetLife Gallery, Bridgewater, NJ.

Collections
Khawam’s work are in museums, corporate and private collections in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East including the Montclair Art Museum, Morris Museum, Educational Testing Service, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon/Lucent Technologies, MetLife, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Nabisco Company, Pulsar International Mexico, Merck/Schering Plough, The Dow Jones, Tanagraphics, and Rock Capital.

Fiscal Sponsorship Projects

Fractured Atlas fiscal sponsored artist fundraising: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/emerging-art-from-war-torn-syria-war-hope/general_support/

Bibliography/Press
Brooklyn, NY John Alexander: https://brooklynreporter.com/2019/10/war-hope-emerging-art-from-war-torn-syria/

Artrepreneur, Article and Podcast Interview: https://abj.artrepreneur.com/podcast/tony-khawam-artists-story/
Voyage Mia – Erika Smith – Miami’s most inspiring stories, hidden gems of South Florida
http://voyagemia.com/interview/meet-tony-khawam-khawam-gallery-winwood
Florida Newswire – Bailey Contemporary Arts Presents ‘Spiritual Vessels’
Yahoo Finance: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/tony-khawams-vision-syrias-war-195100665.html

 

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