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Mohamad Labash

Mohamad Labash

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Mohamad Labash

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This piece by Mohamad Labash belongs to a series of paintings called ‘Reminiscence of Faces’. Labash’s poetraits are a powerful representation of captivity and dehumanisation, as the subjects’ faces are obstructed by abstract strokes of paint. Like much of his other work, it is difficult for one to look at this portrait without noting the presence of an underlying socio-political commentary. The artist himself claims that his own work is a ‘comment on human nature’, and this thoughtful artistic reflection is very much apparent here. 


This sense of interiority is made evident in this series of portraits as Syrian-born Labash delves deep into the psychology of loss and trauma. His subjects look young—too young—and their expressions are tinted with an unambiguous loss that pulls their faces into a downwards frown. Labash’s brushwork creates an overwhelming sense of turbulence as the subjects are covered in bright bloodied shades of red. 


In the second portrait of this series, Labash depicts another child-like figure whose indentity—and therefore humanity—is seemingly erased in disfigurement. The artist delves deeper into the abstract with this piece, as his brushstrokes become more frenzied and disorganised over the subjects’ face. Loss of personhood is therefore accentuated here, in what seems to be a stark contradiction to the concept of reminiscence present in the series’ title. It is in this contradiction that the viewer may find glimpses of the artist’s authorial subjectivity, as Labash manages to masterfully capture the loss of life—particularly young lives—in Syrian communities.