Artist Omran Younes’ response to the violence in Syria is to reach for its opposite: the deep, primal bond between mother and child.
By centering his vision on maternal love, he does not erase death from his canvases. Rather, he anchors his work in the tension between these two poles of human existence: the life-force and the death-force, birth and dying, peace and terror, as they entwine in an endless cycle.
Younis’ first show of 2014, “Human”, which opens today at Zara Gallery at the Grand Hyatt Amman, portrays these deepest human states with an unflinching tenderness, cherishing the creases of blankets and grave-clothes alongside the lines and puckers in an infant’s outstretched hand. These paintings, which have the rich simplicity of myths, use only red ochre, black, and white to dramatize a mother’s ambivalence about bringing a child into a violent world.
“Any mother, especially in Syria, hugs her child like she wishes she could return him to her womb,” Younes explains. “The movement of life is circular, like the cycles of the womb.”
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