Raafat Ballan’s paintings are essentially transcending tensed domestic situations and victims of violence in Syria into stilled compositions with isolated figures. More specifically, the body of works presented in this exhibition is a painterly reflection of a suicide bombing attack in the city of As-Suwayda (Sweida), Syria, coinciding with a series of raids on seven villages east of the city in the night of 25 July 2018. Killing almost 200 people, the bloodshed event is now better known as the ISIS massacre in Sweida.The city of Sweida is also the home of a branch of the Damascus University College of Art, where Ballan studied painting. Founded in 1960 the College of Art went through several phases. From the typical post-colonial experimentalism in painting and sculpture in the beginning, it became under the influence of (former) Sovjet social realism in the times of the Assad regimes. Because of the turmoil in Syria, many among its (former) student population moved out of the country or have taken refuge – often into Europe. Ballan’s work is in many respects a balancing between acquired academic skills and a response to the coalescence of events spurred by the strife in his homeland and hometown. Whereas his work stylistically pays debts to canonical modern masters, such as Francis Bacon, Ballan’s attitude feels more akin to Syrian colleagues in the diaspora, such as the late Marwan Kassab-Bachi (1934-2016), better known as Marwan, who spent most of his life in Berlin. Ballan is also active as organizer of exhibitions together with a small group of artists who gather under the name ‘Just Shout’.
Galerie SANAA heeft de Mondriaan kunstkoopregeling.