Syrian Artist Layali Alawad

Layali Alawad, a young Syrian artist who graduated in Graphic and Printing techniques from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University.
Born in Aachen, Germany. Moved with her family back to Damascus, Syria, and after a few years, returned to Aachen in Germany, where she currently lives.

– Album on Syria.Art: Layali Alawad – Syria.Art

What is your relationship to your studio? What does your studio represent to you? How do you feel when you are in your studio?

While the artist’s studio is necessarily a space in which an artist can work and think it is also his own creative haven. For me, my studio is like a microcosm of its own, here there are other rules, other conditions, other priorities.

People may think it is disorganized or even messy, but I see this disorganization as a rather dynamic, gradual and progressive compromise: all change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new. Thus in my little art studio, a little chaos is the evidence of creativity. It tells the story of lessons learned in exploration, experience earned, and emotions expressed.

Do the layout, the organization and the location of your studio have an influence on the creation of your works? What role do that space, time and solitude have on your work?

In the past as I still was living in Syria my art studio was settled in the basement of my house. For me, this was obviously an ideal situation, since my studio was also the place where I was used to receive my friends and teach private art lessons to children.

Today since I am living in Germany my studio doubles as a living room. It might be less spacious and comfortable a studio than the one I had in Syria, but as I am now able to experience a feeling of safety, privacy and liberty in my art, I can think of no better alternative at this time.

12804408_10153904533172165_Do you listen to music in your studio? Do you work better with some music in your ear or do you need complete silence when you are at your most creative?

I always listen to music while working. Music makes my mind free of distraction and makes my workflow so much smoother. I believe that music becomes a part of my work of art; it helps me express my emotions and translate my feelings into lines and colours easier. Personally I actually do prefer Oriental music.

What are your artistic practice and your working process? Do you plan?

Basically I always plan and draw small sketches in previous phases, but as soon as I start with the painting process, I acceed to a new world. I forget all about my sketches and my planning and I create a completely different kind of artwork.

What your art is about?

For me, Art is all about emotions and is a form of nourishment of consciousness and of the spirit. In each painting is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys. So especially now during the raging war, to translate these different emotional and spiritual levels in his work is the vocation of an artist, and to harmonize the whole is the task of art.

I wish I would be able to testify in my work to the differing a human being is compelled to go through during times of war. I am glad about my art touching people, as I try to express human sadness on the faces I paint.


Being an artist is hard work. Do you have sometimes doubts and struggles?

No artist is ever completely satisfied with his work. Self-doubt is somewhat a necessity for an artist to give the best of his talent and to further develop his skills. My work is never as good as I imagined it would be. Some artworks I will always like better than others, but I think the avoiding of self-doubt and struggle is only a mirage that would keep me from moving on.

Do you ever regret becoming an artist? Where does your energy come from?

I will never regret being an artist! Art is life for me. I cannot even imagine myself without any paintings and colours around me. The creative energy is here in me constantly but the enthusiasm and the degree of energy depend on a whole range of internal and external influences, as for instance my psychological conditions and sometimes even the weather.

What inspires you?

Human beings and society are my inspiration. Any human emotions or life situations can be a source for my art.


How much satisfaction do you get in response of your work?

I feel satisfied enough with my work, but still I wish to stay focused and keep progressing.

Satisfaction is a reward, but perfection is an illusion. I think of each artwork that I create as a stepping stone on a much longer journey. I will never get to the next stage of development as an artist unless I am willing to set an artwork aside and move on to the next.

At some point, I have to let it go and move on. I have to accept the fact that even the greatest authors, composers, musicians, and artists were still unsatisfied with their masterpieces in some way.

Has the conflict that is raging in Syria since a few years had an impact on the core element of your art? What has changed?

It obviously had. Before being an artist I am a human being. Most of my artworks have been created in the middle of the war. If my art is filled with deep sadness, it is because it expresses the suffering of my people.


If you are living outside of Syria, has the place you are living in changed your art?

I am currently living in Germany. Obviously, the environment and society, which I am now living in play a major role in my artistic moods.

I can see a clear difference in my work. My paintings in Syria had the imprints of family’s values and traditions, since in the Oriental society the family is a very predominant entity. In Syria we were accustomed to be surrounded by many people, what sometimes was even difficult to cope with, and gave us little chance to feel independent.

While in Germany there is a kind of basic individualism and independence which inspired me in my art. My last work is entitled ‘Syrian Icons’ but paradoxally it is inspired by the independence of European people and their individual way of living.

What are your hopes and dreams for yourself as an artist and especially as a Syrian artist?

My hope as a human being is that the war will come to an end, and people will stop suffering.

My wish as an artist is to see my art reaching people’s heart everywhere and being recognized internationally.

My dream as a Syrian is that the Arabic society would understand and appreciate the importance of Art in our world, that it would recognize its true value, and start to introduce Arts Education as an integrative part of the school educational system.

Photos by  

                                                    ما علاقتك مع الاستوديو؟ ماذا تمثل لك هذه الورشة الفنية؟ و ما هو إحساسك عندما تكون داخلها؟

ورشة العمل هي بيت الفنان، عالمه الخاص وانا كذلك عندما اكون في ورشتي هكذا اشعر انها عالمي الصغير ، يمكن  للجميع ان يراها فوضوية و غير منظمة لكن فوضويتها هذه تشعرني بالارتياح، أجد طريق العمل الفني من خلالها، هذه  الفوضى هي دلائل على الاكتشاف و التجربة الفنية.

 هل تنظيم او فوضوية الورشة تؤثر على عملك؟ هل محيط الورشة، مكانها و المسافة بينها و بين مكان إقامتك تؤثر على  نتائج عملك؟ ما هو دور هذا المكان و الوحدة و الوقت في فنك؟

عندما كنت في سوريا كان مرسمي في الطابق الأسفل من منزلي و بالطبع هذا كان مريحاً جداً حيث أنه كان مرسماً و مكاناً  لضيافة الأصدقاء وأيضاً كان المكان الذي أعمل به كمدرسة رسم حيث كنت استقبل الأطفال و اليافعين ، أما الآن حيث أقيم  في ألمانيا فورشتي هي غرفتي الوحيدة. لكني أظنّ أن الاحساس بالآمان والجو الحميمي يخلقان من اي مكان ورشة للفنان.

 هل تستمعين الى الموسيقى في ورشة عملك؟ هل تفضلين العمل في السكون أم أن نوع الموسيقى التي قد تسمعها قد  تؤثّر على ابداعك؟

 بالطبع أسمع الموسيقى أثناء الرسم فأنا اعتقد أن الموسيقى هي جزء من أعمالي فهي تساعدني لأنقل أحاسيسي إلى اللوحة  بسهولة، و شخصياً أحب الموسيقى الشرقية جداً

 ما هي طريقة عملك و خطواته؟ هل تخططين لفكرة معينة ام تترك الفكرة تأتي وحدها من خلال العمل؟

دائماً أخطط وأرسم سكيتشات صغيرة للعمل لكن بمجرد البدء باللوحة أصبح بعالم أخر و أنسى السكيتشات و النتيجة تكون  مختلفة عما فكرت به قبل البدء باللوحة.

 عن ماذا يريد ان يعبّر فنك؟

بالنسبة لي الفن هو مشاعر والفنان يقوم بنقل مشاعره و ترجمها بلوحته هذا بشكل عام و بشكل خاص في ظل هذه  الحرب…أحب أن أوصل للجميع معاناة الإنسان في ظروف الحرب و استطاعت لوحاتي أن تؤثر بالمشاهد وأن تنقل المعاناة  و الحزن الموجود في وجوه اللوحات إلى جميع المشاهدين

 ان تكوني فنانة هو شيء صعب في أيامنا هذه، هل لديك أحياناً شكوك أو حواجز نفسية؟

الشك ضرورة لتقديم الأفضل دائماً فإذا اقتنعت أن هذا أفضل شي و أفضل مالدي فلا يبقى شيء جديد أنتظره.

 هل ندمت يوماً على كونك فنانة محترفة؟ و من أين تأتي طاقتك الفنية و حماسك للعمل؟

لا بالطبع لم و لن أندم! الفن هو الحياة بالنسبة لي و لا أستطيع تخيل ذاتي من غير اللوحات و أدوات الرسم ، الطاقة دائماً  موجودة و يتفاوت حماسي و طاقتي تبعاً للحالة النفسية و حتى الطقس و كل شيء محيط بي.

إلى أيّ مدى أنت راضية عن إنتاجك الفني؟

راضية إلى حد كافٍ و لكن دائماً أبحث عن الأفضل و أحاول تطوير ذاتي ويقال أن القناعة كنز لا يفنى لكن هذا المثل  لاينطبق على الفنان حيث أنه يجب على الفنان، في كل مجالات الفن، ألا يكون قنوعاً في الفن.

 بالنسبة للظروف الحالية في سوريا و منذ عدة سنوات، هل أثّرَ هذا على عملك؟ ماذا تغير ؟

 بالطبع أثر فأنا إنسانة قبل أن أكون فنانة و الغالبية من لوحاتي نُفذت في سنوات الحرب و كما ذكرت سابقاً فهي تتسم  بالمعاناة و الحزن بسبب ظروف الحرب

 أنت تعيشين خارج سوريا، هل أثّر بلد أو مدينة إقامتك على إنتاجك الفني؟

نعم فأنا أعيش في ألمانيا و بالطبع المجتمع المحيط يؤثر و يلعب دوراً مهماً في الإنتاج الفني وألاحظ هذا من لوحاتي حيث  أن اللوحات التي نفذتها في سوريا كان لها دلالات عائلية أكثر و السبب أن المجتمع الشرقي هو مجتمع عائلي و دائماً يوجد  أحد إلى جانبك! لا يعطونك الفرصة لتكون مستقلاً أما لوحاتي التي رسمتها هنا في ألمانيا فهي تعبر عن حالات فردية و