01 Painting, Middle East Artists, Louay Kayali’s Cake Seller, with Footnotes, #53
“The Cake (Ka’ak) Seller” is a prime examples of Kayyali’s mature period in which key characters from Syrian daily life merge to the forefront. In this body of work, Kayyali highlights the protagonist’s struggle and vividly captures how political upheaval affected the Syrian population’s demeanor, shaping a culture and society that led to poverty and societal marginalization. Kayyali conveys a mixture of empathetic admiration and sad affection for his poor but noble subject matters. More on this painting
Louay Kayali (20 January 1934–26 January 1978) was a Syrian modern artist.
Kayali was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1934 and studied art in the Accademia di Belle Arti after having studied at the Al-Tajhiz School where his work was first exhibited in 1952. He met Syrian artist Wahbi al-Hariri there and the two would share a friendship for the rest of Kayali’s life. Al-Hariri would become his mentor as he was for artist Fateh Moudarres that Hariri introduced to Kayali in 1955. Moudarress and Kayali would together represent Syrian modern art at the Venice Biennial Fair.
Kayali graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome in 1961 and returned to Syria where he started his career as a fine arts professor at Damascus University. That same year, the International Modern Art Hall of Damascus hosted his exhibit of 28 oil paintings on canvas and 30 sketches
He suffered from depression and died in 1978 from burns incurred from his bed catching fire, reportedly from a cigarette. More on Louay Kayali
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