Fateh Al-Mudaris … Not only a teacher by name

“Qamat” colloquium - a gathering designated to discuss art and literature- dedicated its monthly conference at Al-Assad National Library to the artist Fateh Al-Mudaris, with the participation of critics and plastic artists.

Fateh Al-Mudaris, which means “teacher” in arabic had a real connotation to his name, since he was a Syrian painter and professor at the faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. He was one of the leaders of the modern art movement in Syria. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, where he was influenced by surrealism. After he completed his studies, he returned to Syria where he grew and honed his skills under the auspices of a long-time friend, mentor, and tutor Wahbi Al-Hariri. Al-Mudaris studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for three years in the early 1970s, and honed his technical and compositional skills before returning to Syria to teach at the University of Damascus an opportunity that allowed him to interact with other young Syrian artists.

The symposium carrying the title of “Fateh Al-Mudaris:  between color and letter a world of creative composition”, was directed by Dr. Ismail Marwa.  The debate initiated with Dr. Abdul Karim Faraj discussion about Al-Mudaris art which carries the spirit of the East, indicating his distinctive impact while using symbols representing land and man as intensified elements of his paintings.

Dr. Faraj, underlined the significance of Al-Mudaris’ mother image in his paintings, which expressed deep subjects in a simple way, away from copying and imitation. Faraj showcased two paintings “Kafr Jannah” and “Palmyrian Wedding”, which embody Al-Mudaris’s style and his deep attachment to his homeland and humanity.

Whereas, Saad Al-Qasim, the plastic art critic, made a biographical account of Al-Mudatris, accentuating his father’s early death impact, and how his artistic career was influenced by his single mother, who raised him alone. He also traced Al-Mudaris journey and the most prominent stations through highlighting his international expos in the United States, Italy and Sweden, as well as the rewards and prizes he got.

Al-Qasim pointed out as well to Fateh Al-Mudaris, the tutor, who unleashed his students ’creativity and uniqueness; by making from the local environment and ancient myths the main sources of his paintings.

 With regards of Dr. Marwa intervention, he talked about the literary impact of Al-Mudaris, through his discussion of many books such as “A Book with my Friend -the poet” in partnership with Sharif Khazindar. He also discussed Al-Mudaris joint book with Hussein Raji, and the book “Oud Al-Nana” which included a collection of short stories that reflected Al-Mudaris view of life.

Al-Mudaris often sought to depict everyday people; he was especially moved by the life of ordinary people in the Syrian countryside. For instance the presented composition depicts the life of the simple peasants, showing the country bride and wedding party. In such a scene one might expect to see joyful celebration, but instead there is a palpable aura of sadness, as Mudaris reveals something of his feelings about suffering and helplessness of these women in the rural areas.


Report: Lama Alhassanieh