Seven Years

As the seven-year anniversary of the Syrian war has come and gone, the conflict is getting only more entrenched and complicated, while the outside world has hit a ceiling of shock. Izoli’s empathetic paintings in which the artist draws from his surroundings and atmosphere in his country of residence provide a new ground for comparisons. Somber yet softly coloured, the paintings depict children with hunched shoulders and evocative gazes, either looking directly at the viewer or off to a distance, unaware that anyone is looking. In some of Izoli’s works, the children are placed alongside toys or objects with which they would usually playfully interact. In Untitled (2017), a beach ball is floating near a seated girl while she longingly gazes at it. Her body slightly turned towards the ball, hands in her lap, seemingly yearning. Yet she shows no intent to get up and play, resigning herself to her chair. With scenes as such, Izoli intends to depict the everyday reality of Syrian children who hope for a better future after the war. The portraits of Seven Years create a sense of intrusion and a heightened awareness of one’s own presence in front of the paintings. The children’s strong gazes resonate with the observer, building an empathic connection between viewer and subject. The melancholic nature of the works, combined with the muted palette, draws the spectator to step into these private spaces that lie between intimacy and invasiveness. Hence depicting the general atmosphere the artist has been living in over the last seven years.