Ahmad Ali is a Syrian visual artist living in France who graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art, Damascus University in 2007. Ali experiments in the field of contemporary art, relying on optical illusions and visual phenomena to create a dazzling effect that drives one on a thrilling exploration each and everytime.
Ali’s art career began in 2004, after participating in photography and video exhibitions. His first accomplishment as an artist came 4 years later, when he received the first prize for video art in a competition for young artists in Kozah Gallery, Damascus, 2008. He also earned his second prize from the National Museum of Damascus in 2010 for “best work on the relationship between traditional Islamic art and contemporary design.”
In 2010, while Ahmad Ali was working as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts and shortly before the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, he won a scholarship to continue his education in Paris, France. He reflects on his time away from home: “I was following, imagining and living the uprising’s every detail since its very beginning. Everything was surreal to me, the nobility Syrians had shown, the violence and inhumane acts carried out by the regime and its forces.”
All these overwhelming sentiments, prompted Ali to put his art in service of the uprising, evolving from designing posters and photo-montage, to optical illusions and graphics. The artist takes interest in visual and op art as well as photography and film. Ali’s main success, however, came from his op art pieces. He uses this technique often in relation to events in Syria because, “this deceptive technique, with its symmetrical figures and powerful color contrast, has an exceptional impact on the mind of the recipient,” as Ali explains in an interview with Syria Untold.
In an artwork titled “Army”, you one finds oneself lost in an optical labyrinth that resembles that of Syria’s. Despite the enormous presence of war in the artist’s pieces, hope always seems to triumph. In the “Flower Effect”, a red flower stands strong amidst the military aircrafts that surround it.
The mission of art is to present the suffering of people in a civilized and sophisticated way, which places great challenges in the path of Syrian artists, who are standing up not only to tyranny, but also against all attempts to degrade their art. That’s why, according to Ali, “a true artist does not work in order to live, but for others to live.”