Mahmoud Hammad

A printmaker, sculptor and painter, Mahmoud Hammad was a pioneering figure in Syria whose work includes explorations in abstraction, Arabic letterforms, landscapes and mural painting. Growing up during Syria’s struggle for independence, Hammad, who was politically engaged at a young age, began his art practice as a teenager. A member of Studio Veronese, Syria’s first fine arts club, Hammad held his first exhibition in 1939. In 1952 he was granted a fellowship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome where he focused on landscapes in Italy and portraiture that cite approaches in both realism and impressionism. Inspired by the urban and rural nomadic life of Daraa, Hammad returned to Damascus in 1957 following his tenure in Italy to begin painting archaeological landscapes and social scenes. In his Memory of the first of February: The Arab Unity (study), Hammad sketches a plan for mural that celebrates the union of Egypt and Syria as the United Arab Republic (1958-61), a campaign spearheaded by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Hammad taught as a professor at Fine Arts Faculty of Damascus, and was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Fine Art where he remained until 1981.