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'Two Walls' exhibition
'Two Walls' exhibition

“Two Walls” Portrait Exhibition at Damascus

(Dp-news)

DAMASCUS- British/German artist Fritz Best has been working in Syria for almost two months, at which he created ‘Portrait Studio Damascus’ in the British Council in Shaalan.

Fritz Best painted portraits of visitors to the British Council.

Many citizens of Damascus of all ages and from all walks of life sat for the artist and have their portrait painted. Over the weeks, he painted portraits of Damascus people – working in the British Council premises, and then in the streets of Shaalan and Sarouja.

Little by little, portraits by portrait, the Two Walls have been filling up with portraits of Syrians, of all ages and from all walks of life, and of their spaces. They sat for the artist and talked while their portrait was being painted. The intention was to create a live portrait of contemporary Damascus society, and the result is the creation of an exhibition that changed and developed as people came and went from the Portrait Studio.



Photographic portrait studios have long been popular in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries as places where individuality and national identity are carefully staged. Fritz Best is interested in the idea of taking this process into an older, slower medium at a time when visual communication is dominated by digital snapshots and video clips.

It is common for tourists visiting popular destinations to have their portrait drawn by local artists. There is a particular interest in the idea of reversing this process in Damascus.

Fritz said about his experience in Damascus: “having been here is a wonderful experience. I don’t want it to stop! I feel incredibly privileged to have been shown such trust by people especially those who invited me to their homes and their private lives and thoughts.”

As Portraits have been completed, the paintings will go on display in the British Council gallery space to create a growing exhibition that changes and develops as people come and go from the Portrait Studio. The intention is to create a live portrait of contemporary Damascus society. A final viewing of the exhibition is set for November.

The Damascus British Council invites his visitors to the final stage of Portrait Studio Damascus: the exhibition of all the portraits made in Damascus by the artist Fritz Best.

Elizabeth White, British Council Country Director said: “Each of these portraits tells its own compelling story, and the whole exhibition, the collection of stories makes a remarkable effect. I’m very proud that the British Council has hosted Fritz Best for these two months; I hope that Damascus will come to the view this portrait of some of the people who make up this city at this time.”

The British Council’s Two Walls gallery provides a new small but lively space for artists to showcase their works in Damascus.

In addition to the Portrait Studio Damascus at the British Council, Fritz is also delivering a workshop on contextualising artistic practices at Adham Ismaiel Institute in Damascus with Yasser Al Safi (painter), Ayham Deeb (photographer) and Reem Al Khatib (painter and photographer). The workshop will be held on Wednesday 2 November.

British/German artist Fritz Best born in London to a German mother and an English father, he is based in Berlin and Brandenburg. He studied in the Slade School of Fine Art, the London College of Printing and St. Martin’s School of Art in London. Fritz Best was a professor of printmaking at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig and a visiting lecturer in the University of the Arts Berlin and the London College of Printing. He has exhibited his works in solo and group shows and published several books.

“Portrait Studio Damascus” exhibition opens Tuesday 1 November at 1800 in the British Council gallery space Two Walls exhibition area at the British Council in Shaalan.

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