Painter Ayat Alhaji

I am a British-Syrian artist based in the UAE.

I was awarded an MA in Art & Politics [2012: Goldsmiths College, University of London] and a BA in Visual Arts [2006: Winchester School of Art, University Of Southampton, UK].


I have been painting since childhood.

Through my life journey into art I studied and analyzed the works of numerous artists: Georgia O’Keeffe

Francis Bacon; Jackson Pollock; Mona Hatoum; Hannah Höch and Kutluğ Ataman to name a few that were particularly inspirational to me. My art however retains its own style.


I have worked on multimedia through video art, photography, and 3D installations. I have also developed my own form of "sculpted canvases", in which a canvas painting has been raised in three dimensional relief.


I am a member of the international academic group “Art: War”. The group is a permanent member of the BISA annual conference (British International Studies Association).


I have exhibited works in Europe and the Middle East, including few solo shows, one of which was sponsored by the Sharjah Culture and Art Department in the UAE.


One of my artworks has been archived at the Museum of London Docklands following a group project on gentrification in London.


I created and coordinated several

community art projects and public events working with diverse communities, schools and colleges, sponsored and supported by local city councils.


My Project: “Home”


Home is a catalogue of my childhood memoirs and fantasies based around the centuries-old crumbling Syrian house in which I was born and raised.


It also reflects my feelings towards the crisis in my home country today.



"The Old Ceiling" The varnish is flaking off and falling; poppies grow amidst the cracks. 2015, 100 x 122 cm, mixed media on canvas.
"The Old Ceiling" The varnish is flaking off and falling; poppies grow amidst the cracks. 2015, 100 x 122 cm, mixed media on canvas.

The ancient house I lived in throughout my childhood bore a ceiling held by large crossbeams of thick branches across which planks were laid. A singular enormous tree trunk across the centre bore aloft the entire structure.


I had already begun working on this sculpted painting from my memories whereupon the Syrian crisis began. The events warped my feelings towards my memories and thus in tandem, the ongoing process of the painting was morphed.


Shattered white strands emerged, in between which grew a scattering of poppies deceitfully beautifying the exotic scene, when in truth it concealed a bitter truth.


I finished the work with the inclusion of metaphorical embellishments representing the what I saw of the crisis: displacement, detention and death; the myriad of ailments that transformed masses of people into statistics and numbers. Naught but yet another sufferer of no import, a cheap commodity now.


"A Frozen Tear" 2016 60 x 50 cm Mixed media on canvas
"A Frozen Tear" 2016 60 x 50 cm Mixed media on canvas

Among the many images that emerged from the Syrian conflict came one in particular that near stopped my heart.


A lone boy stood in front of a ruined building, eyes rent wide open petrified in shock; a single tear clung to the edge.


That image carved itself into my mind and commanded me to express it in work.

This is the Frozen Tear.


"Breaking Out"  Dedicated to women, and in particular Syrian Women. 2013, 50 x 50 cm, acrylics on canvas.
"Breaking Out" Dedicated to women, and in particular Syrian Women. 2013, 50 x 50 cm, acrylics on canvas.

This was inspired by a dream I saw one night. A spider had captured a butterfly; it perpetually writhed and struggled to escape. The imagery haunted me until I released it onto canvas. I perceived in it the entrapped struggle of multitudes of women against abuse, in particular as it soars to extremity in war time.


More info:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ayatalhaji

Google: https://sites.google.com/site/funoonayat/home

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ayat-alhaji-16698143

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AyatAlhaji?s=09




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