Shawki Youssef
Lebanese, born 1973

Born in the midst of the Lebanese conflict of the 1970s, Shawki Youssef creates delicate, haunting paintings and mixed-media compositions on paper or canvas that explore ideas of human frailty and the trauma experienced in war. Youssef’s works feature angular, abstracted limbs and distorted, incomplete figures, sometimes bearing weapons, in a stark palette of blacks and yellows. “My work is based on the proposition that trauma is here, visible or not,” he has said. In Arab world map: construct/reconstruct (2013) and Arab World Map (2013), Youssef examines the fragile state of the region and its uncertain future, depicting an inverted map with dark swirling colors in the latter composition. He is often compared to the British figurative painter Francis Bacon, and considers Bacon’s work, and that of the Austrian draughtsman Egon Schiele, to be influences on his work.

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