Featured Artist

Ayman Baalbaki


One of the most prominent living Lebanese contemporary visual artists, Ayman Baalbaki was born in Odeissé, before his family moved to Beirut. He grew up in Wadi Abu Jamil in the central part of the capital city. Baalbaki gained his Diploma in Fine Arts from the Lebanese University in Beirut in 1998 and then completed a year-long mandatory military service, before moving to Paris in 2000. While there, he studied at the ‘Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs’ from 2000 to 2002, and received his DEA from the ‘Université Paris VIII’ in the Art of Images and Contemporary Art, which he completed between 2002-2003.

Growing up during the civil war in Lebanon, Baalbaki witnessed snipers, shelling, destruction and Israel’s invasion of Beirut. In his body of work, the artist faces the past, tackling the war’s distressing events with cynicism, while emphasising the absurdity of war. Baalbaki’s oeuvre tackles themes such as loss, displacement, collective memory and identity. The artist is known to depict large concrete bullet-riddled buildings in gradual collapse.

Baalbaki’s buildings usually occupy the centre of his paintings, appearing like emblems of disaster. He lightens the mood with ornate backgrounds, painted in alternating palettes of blue, green, yellow or pink. Sometimes he fixes readymade floral fabrics to the canvas before he starts painting. Baalbaki has painted several civil war landmarks that are now covered with shrapnel and bullets, such as the Burj al Murr Tower, the Holiday Inn hotel, the Barakat Sniper building and the Egg building. These paintings serve as a commemoration but also take on a personal and a political dimension. Baalbaki has earned international acclaim for his tremendous, hyper-expressive paintings He currently lives and works in Beirut.

Featured Works