Edward Shahda



Born in 1952, Edward Shahda is a contemporary Syrian artist and sculptor. He began his creative journey in 1968 at the Suheil Ahdab Centre in Hamma before joining the Faculty Of Fine Arts in Damascus (1971-1976). He then resided at the Anatoli Klankov Atelier in Russia (1991-1992).


As early as 1980, his work had been on display at numerous prestigious international solo and group exhibitions in Syria, Russia, Lebanon, Egypt, Dubai, Turkey, USA, Canada, France, Switzerland and China. More recent exhibitions include the Beinalle exhibition in China in 2005 and 2008, as well as The Institute of The Arab World exhibition in Paris in 2008. 


His work ranges from acrylic and oil paintings to collages and China ink on rice paper. It exposes an underlying tension in line thicknesses and colour contrast. Surfaces of strong, lively colours often fade out and blurry outlines come together to create vaguely defined shapes with colour gradations. Figurative and symbolic shapes, portraiture, and female figures are predominant. To Shahda, the human subject is the main concern in painting, and colour treatment and juxtapositions are his preoccupation during the painting process. Figures are central to his painting. They define the expression of space and frame the meaning of "place". 


Shahda is unconventional in his representation of women. His paintings often feature vibrant and emotional images inspired from real life scenes. He bends and breaks perspective, favouring strong, contrasting and dynamic colours to powerfully project emotion. Moreover, symbolism and mythology is a key component for Shahda when exploring contemporary themes, as a way of adding depth and meaning to his pieces.



The message from Edward:


“Art has always been my biggest passion. I’m not sure how young I was when I started painting - it’s been a lifelong obsession of mine. 


I don’t know exactly why I paint. I attempt to explore the meaning of humanity through the medium of paint. I love to play with all sorts of colours, shapes and thoughts. The canvas is literally my playground for a mixture of joy and pain to dance together. Its where I can unload all my stress and worries.


Colour is very important for me. It is the only way for me to truly express myself and so, I make sure to spend a long time mixing and creating it. I’m always intrigued by the contrast of colours, and how they neighbour each other. Colour is like the music of paint, and even a small speck of it can harbour a lot of meaning.

What always intrigues me are the beautiful little shapes that appear uninvited while painting, refusing to conform with the rest. There’s always the dilemma of whether to keep them or my original intentions. It really is an ongoing struggle that does not end until I sign and finish the painting.


The paintings I am presenting in this exhibition “Stories from Within” illustrate my take on the war’s consequences and its resounding effects on the lives of the Syrian people. Many left with no choice but to flee, others never to be seen again. Those that stay are left in a constant state of anxious waiting. Waiting to once again see the others. The others that appear as loitering ghosts in these paintings.”

Solo exhibitions:


1981 - Solo exhibition at the Russian Cultural Centre, Damascus.

1983 - Solo exhibition at the Damascus Military Housing Foundation.

1992 - Exhibition in Stavropol, Russia.

1995 - Personal exhibition in Ishtar Gallery, Damascus.

2002 - Solo exhibition at Atelier Fateh Al Moudarres, Damascus.

2006 - Solo exhibition at Atassi Gallery, Damascus.

2011 - Personal exhibition entitled “To Mahdmoud Darwich” at Tajalliyat Art Gallery.

2013 - Personal exhibition at Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut Lebanon.


Group exhibitions:


1984 - Exhibition with Assem Al Basha, George Maher, Ghassan Nana at Al Shaeb Gallery, Damascus. 

1992 - Exhibition with 3 Russian artists in Stavropol, Russia.

1996 - Personal exhibition with the sculptor Zaki Salam at Al Shaeb Gallery in Homes.

1996 - Exhibition with Karam Maatouk and Ghassan Nana in Al-Khanji Gallery in Aleppo, Syria.

1998 - Co-exhibition entitled “Life’s Theater” in the French Cultural Centre, Damascus.

2000 - Monterosa Forum in collaboration with Lebanese artists.

2001 - The Women and War exhibition at the Red Cross, Damascus.

2001 - Pinnelli, Alexandria.

2003 - “Europe Art” exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.

2004 - “The Little Painting” exhibition, Souad Issawi Gallery, Jordan.

2004 - Co-exhibition in ‘Dar Culture and Art’ Gallery, Drousha.

2005 - Second International Biennale Beijing exhibition, China.

2005 - 4 artists exhibition in Istanbul, Turkey. 

2005 - “Little Painting’ exhibition, Canada.

2006-7  - Project Tal Al Hijara (Artists’ street).

2008 - Third International Biennale Beijing exhibition, China.

2008 - 5 Syrian artists exhibition in Fort Hamilton Gallery, New York.

2008 - Camel Arts Gallery opening exhibition.

2008 - “Damascus seen by Paris” exhibition, Institute of Arab World, Paris.

2009 - Ghayath Al Akhrass tribute exhibition. 

2009 - Dubai Arts exhibition. 

2009 - “Damascus seen by Paris” exhibition, National Museum, Damascus. 

2012 - Beirut Art Fair, Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut Lebanon. 

2012 - Beirut Art Fair, Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut Lebanon. 

2012 - 2017 - Participant at the Beijing International Biennale. 

2013 - Summer Collective Exhibition, Art on 56th Gallery, Beirut Lebanon.

2013 - Contemporary Istanbul, Art on 56th Gallery, Istanbul Turkey.

©2019 by Stories Art Gallery.