Fathallah Zamroud. Photo: MASSYR.

Fathallah Zamroud (1968–2018)

Fathallah Zamroud, a painter from a Syrian-Lebanese background who often conjured abandoned landscapes with lively brushwork and bold colors, has died at forty-nine. His gallery confirmed the cause was cancer. Born in 1968, Zamroud studied interior architecture at the Lebanese American University before training with painter Louna Maalouf for seven years. He was based in Beirut, where he served as a board member of MASSYR, a nonprofit that promotes Middle Eastern art practices. Many of the artist’s recent paintings, often modeled after his photographs, evoke the aftermath of violence in Lebanon due to Syria’s civil war.

Zamroud exhibited work at Ayyam Gallery’s Beirut and Dubai locations, and in 2014 he collaborated with sculptor and painter Ginane Makki Bacho for the exhibition “Material Remains” in Beirut. He was included in the Thirteenth Sharjah Biennial, held by the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2017, and his work will be showcased at Ayyam Gallery Dubai this March for the twelfth edition of Art Dubai. The canvases included in “Material Remains” depict Syrian refugee camps, and his later works, mostly untitled, emphasize the ravages of war more explicitly.

“We will miss his warmth, his smile, his generosity, and most importantly the lesson he taught us. Until his last breath he was never bitter, always smiled and wanted to make sure everyone around him was happy. That is a lesson we will always cherish,” said Ayyam Gallery founder Khaled Samawi.

Last September, Zamroud spoke with Selections magazine about his works selected for Art Dubai this year. “The third show will have a hint of remains, but nature will reign supreme. The focus will be on dramatic nature, trees, silent forests,” he said. “Like a resurrection, a return to hope.”