Sara Shamma, currently exhibiting in Dubai, is an artist with a remarkable history, indicative of the tumultuous times we now live in.
Born into a Christian family in Syria, she received her artistic education there and became a known personality in contemporary Syrian art. As a result of the ongoing civil war, she moved first to the Lebanon, and now, for greater security and better access to the international art world, to London. She was able to do this because she was awarded a rare and prestigious Exceptional Talent Visa.
A remarkable history, indicative of the tumultuous times we now live in – Edward Lucie-Smith
The exhibition, entitled simply ‘London’, draws its inspiration from her early experiences in the city as an artist and mother, and her insights into life as a newly settled resident welcomed into her local London community.
Sara Shamma was born in Damascus, Syria (1975), to a Syrian Father and Lebanese mother, a family of intellectuals. They encouraged her love of painting which she developed as a small child, and by the age of 14, Shamma decided she would train as a painter. Shamma graduated from the Painting Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus in 1998.
Following her graduation, Shamma participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions including (solo): “World Civil War Portraits” curated by Sacha Craddock at The Old Truman Brewery, London, UK, “Diaspora” Art Sawa Gallery, Dubai, UAE, 2014, “Q” Royal College of Art, London, UK, 2013, “Birth”, Art House, Damascus, Syria, 2011, “Love”, 360 MALL, Kuwait, 2009, and (group): The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London, 2013, Nord Art 2012, Annual International Exhibition, organized by KiC – Kunst in der Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany, Art Prize 2010, Kendall College, UAE Through Arabian Eyes, the International Financial Centre, Dubai, UAE, 2008, Syrian Artists, Souq Wakef Art Center, Doha, Qatar, 2008, The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia and the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, Australia, 2008, Panorama of Syrian Arts, Catzen Arts Centre at The American University Washington, D.C. USA, 2007, International Painting Prize of the Castellon County Council, ESPAI (the Contemporary Art Centre), Castellon and the Municipal Arts Centre of Alcorcon, Madrid, Spain 2005, Women and Arts, International Vision, Expo Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE, 2005, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, 2004.
Shamma was invited to join the teaching staff of the Adham Ismail Fine Arts Institute in Damascus, where she taught for three years from 1998. Besides her own practice and her involvement in the education of young artists, Shamma has been consistently active in the Syrian art scene. She was a member of the jury for The Annual Exhibition for Syrian Artists held by the Ministry Of Culture, Damascus, Syria in 2006.
Shamma has been the recipient of various regional and international art awards including First Prize (The Golden Medal) in the 2001 Latakia Biennial, Syria, Fourth Prize in the 2004 BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK and First Prize in Painting, The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, The South Australian Museum, Adelaide, Australia in 2008, Fourth prize in painting, and Special Mention, Florence Biennial, Florence, Italy 2013.
The images shown here are from her current exhibition at the Art Sawa DIFC gallery in Dubai, which runs from 18th April until 20th May.