OUSSAMA DIAB, Palestine (1977)
Born in 1977, in Damascus, Oussama Diab is a Palestinian contemporary artist based in Lebanon. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 2002. Diab has worked through various painting styles, often combining different forms and techniques in a single composition.
His early works amassed paintings in a neo-expressionist style resonating with the tense ridicule language surrounding famed Jean Michel Basquiat's works. Onto large-scale canvases full of dispersed drawings and thick layers of paint in intense colors, the artist embraced iconography and primitivism with a flair of pop art. Diab re-appropriate Leonardo da Vinci's sixteenth-century Mona Lisa, for instance, adopting a Pop art approach – specifically by reintroducing identifiable imagery. Diab would add props and signs into his paintings, making them more relatable to the Palestinian experience. In this case, he would envelop Mona Lisa's face with a kufiyah, or at times she would hold a Kalashnikov.
In recent years, Diab applied the deconstructed figuration of Cubism to his archetypal characters painted in fresh pastel colors. He portrayed figures with intersecting planes that collide as rigid bodies, mirroring the surrounding environment. In reaction to the turmoil in the Arab world and the fragmented state of society forged by political conflicts and migration, Diab depicts fractured bodies within empty, isolated settings. In his neo-cubist paintings, a couple found in his previous works, become the center of attraction. The artist sets his characters against decorative and ornamental backgrounds that seem to extend out of his canvas with no beginning and no end. Although Diab's figurations attain a level of elegance and grace, they possess intense melancholy.
Ousama Diab still resides and works in Lebanon.
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