Asma Fayoumi … My Artworks Have Deeper Meaning than Politics

UPDATE: Asma Fayoumi solo exhibition “The Person Within” has been extended until 31st October!

We had the pleasure to attend the opening of Asma Fayoumi solo exhibition “The Person Within” in Ayyam Gallery Beirut. There were positive energetic movement going on, music, joy … And there was Asma, a calm woman with a shining smile talking to press or people. When you look into her, you feel tenderness & deepness that is also reflected largely in her 8 hanging paintings.

In an exclusive interview for Al Maha, Asma Fayoumi takes us into a journey within her paintings, her inner world & what she reflecting with each artwork.

Al Maha: What makes Asma Fayoumi artworks different & unique than other artists?!

Asma: I don’t have a prepared idea for what I paint beacause I paint what I feel, and you don’t have any controls of your feelings. A strong flow of feelings attack me bringing it out on the white canavas that attracts me. In my artworks you will sense more emotions than subjects. For example; I don’t paint a rose, subject, I paint the scent of the rose, what the subject says. That’s why the exhibition it’s called “The Person Within”.

Al Maha: Before your 2011 artworks the focus was on one element, mainly a woman. But later, I notice focus on family element; mother & child, children, can you tell us more about this change?

Asma: It is a reflection of a state I lived in. I don’t paint when I immediately witness something; I keep it inside, cook it in my “inner kitchen” with saved believes & feelings a combination of what I experienced, then create a “later” outcome reflected in my artworks. I allow coincidence to add a surprising sense to the painting. Because sometimes coincidence is more beautiful than what you have in mind. The family element in my recent artworks shows what I feel being a grandmother, a feeling I could only describe in a painting.

Al Maha: Few paintings are done with mixmedia, why you don’t use mixmedia as a main tool/technic in your artworks?

Asma: If the mixmedia adds value to my work, I will use it. But i dont focus on exposing it & centering the attention around it. Mixmedia or any tool must only serve the meaning of the artwork not to show others that you are using it. Color & how it all blends in is more important to me.

Al Maha: You talk about emotions more than idea, do you prefer emotions over logic?

Asma: Any artwork can combine logic & emotions, but emotions should take over logic in art. It touches people’s within thus making it closer to them because it’s reflecting how they feel. Logic is the technics used to reflect your feelings and it will only give you a neat artwork but emotions will make it alive & personal.

Al Maha: “Make it personal” … This brings me to my next question; recent art trend is about Arab Spring, politics, revolutions & changes.. why you chose different approach for this exhibition?

Asma: If i go along with the trend, it means i’m politicized which I am not! I want my work to have deeper meaning than only politics or hidden agendas, something that touches one’s humanity and its not limited to one case or region; it should reflect misery of any suffering nation. I dont live in a closed box or boarders, and what’s going on is horrible but its deeper than politics, that’s why i can’t bring it out right now at this moment, it will lose its true genuine meaning.

Al Maha: Your artworks appear differently each time I look at it.. what do u try to cascade to audience when the artwork deliver different meanings?

Asma: Suspense! Keep you wonder & surprised each time you look at it. I do it on purpose to amaze the eyes, thus adding a revive element to the painting. A revived painting is a true masterpiece.

Al Maha: What are your upcoming plans?

Asma: Well, there is an idea of exhibiting in Dubai in 2012.

Al Maha: Something you want to say…

Asma: I’d like to thank you for your interest & I hope I exhibit again in Kuwait soon.

Al Maha on Asma Fayoumi Artworks

I purposly postpone posting this interview to see if Asma Fayoumi’s artworks will revive with time… Looking at different artworks, yes they do appear differenlty each time I look at them! A new element pops out, a new feature shows & there is something about her artworks work like gravity. Simple with its technics but deep with its meaning; Fayoumi’s artwork are a reflecting mirror to what any one can feel.

Asma Fayoumi Bio


Syrian artist born in Amman, Jordan in 1943. Asma Fayoumi began her career amidst a mid-century school of Syrian abstraction that was lead by the Italian artist and instructor Guido La Regina. A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, she worked alongside fellow painters Assad Arabi, Faek Dahdouh and Sakher Farzat during a crucial period of the Middle Eastern art scene, when modernist schools first reflected a gradual transition into contemporary modes of representation and a charged political climate prompted artists to take up the call for social change. A well-received solo show in Damascus that created significant buzz solidified her arrival onto the regional stage in 1966. Since then she has been featured in countless solo and group exhibitions both at home and abroad and is acknowledged for having paved the way for subsequent generations of female painters in the Arab world.


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