Layali Alawad is a Syrian Artist who was born in Aachen 1990. Few years later Layali and her family moved to Damascus where she studied painting and graphic arts with her father at his ‘’Arabesk Atelier’’. and at age of 19 she was accepted to study at the academy of fine arts in Damascus, during her studies she has participated at many exhibitions and workshops in Damascus .In 2014 and due to the Situation in Syria she moved her life back to Germany to the city where she was born Aachen .
"Layali Alawad’s creations address the Syrian experience of war and terror. She repeatedly paints sadness, fear, despair, joy and the will to survive in the silhouettes and faces of women. One of her series, Secular Icons, is a collection of faces of Syrian women, whose fates keep having a deep impact on her, despite being more than 3,000 km away."
Layali Alawad, Secular Icon Series
What drives you to wake up in the morning & what keeps you up at night?
I wake up every morning driven by the desire to chase new opportunities and discover what this world would offer me so every morning is a fresh new beginning. And what keeps me up at night is the atmosphere and calmness that inspire me to turn to my canvas and start painting.
What were your motivations to get involved with social justice? What specific issues do you try to address through your art?
Art for me is a way to express a specific situation, I draw faces because I think this type of art is a window and through it I can express my feelings and everything I think about. Through my Art I always try to show and mention the sufferings of the people specially under the war, and wars are the clearest face to what we call social injustice, war can also convert people into monsters and runts and this is completely social injustice, I try always to deliver the suffering through women faces, in addition to the pain and suffering that the war has brought, unfortunately in the oriental community the women are suffering a lot of types of the social injustice and they don't have the equality with men ,men in this community always play the main roles in all life sides, that's why I try to point in my art this pain that women feel and this social injustice.
Why art? How can your work address issues like decolonization? What is the intersection between art, joy and resilience?
My father is an artist that's why I grew up surrounded by colours, colours and art is the only tool which I can express through.
Unfortunately the art effect is limited when we talk about a big subject like decolo nization, I can only paint what I feel and maybe express and send messages and hints that might hopefully be understood later by some, these hints and messages might affect on people and might change things.
But also not to forget the hope that I insist to include in every work of mine despite the fact that I paint sad subjects generally.
For every pain, there is a pill. For both personal and social “pains”, what is your medicine?
When I start painting I pour all my thoughts and emotions into my canvas and this is my therapy towards all these painful wars and social injustice cases which is incurable but as an artist I try to cure myself by transferring these emotions into my works
What is a normal day for you like during the artistic process? Do you have any rituals in the studio or classroom?
Painting is a big part of my life and a daily necessity for me like any other normal activity and I like to listen to oriental music soundtracks while painting and surround myself with friends and family. It makes me comfortable and more energetic. Painting is a big part of my life and a daily necessity like any other normal activity.
What does community mean to you? How does that community affect your creative output?
The individuality is a part of the society and got affected by it. I lived in a conservative oriental society but the community that I was surrounded by was very open and free, and despite that I have chosen women faces as my main subject to reflect her suffer and pain and draw attention to her life and emotions.
My community is consisted of my family, friends and all those loving people I met in my life who influence me by their great and interesting stories.
Can you give us a quick list of influences? (books, movies, other artists, etc)
Pablo Picasso, Ibrahim Alawad.
Is there anything you would change in your life, if you had the chance? In the world?
Now I'm not willing to make a great change, but what I'm willing to is to keep moving forward, and this development what makes the humanity go forward in our life, but if I had the chance to change something in the world, I would work on spreading the peace all over the world, a world without war and hate and with social justice, so that all people would have the same rights.
Can you share a story about social injustice? How do experiences like these manifest in your work?
When I talk about social injustice, there is of course a lot to talk about therefore I will mainly talk about the problems that I experienced as a woman in Arab world. There is a big difference between men and women in Arab world as I mentioned before, women suffer in some cases due to some traditional rituals that's why I include female elements in my art to put a light spot on this case hoping that it might change something.