This week we heard the tragic news that our dear friend Fathallah Zamroud passed away after a long battle with cancer. A Syrian-Lebanese painter, born in Lebanon in 1968, he was a talented artist and a wonderful man, always positive and happy. He died this week aged 49, leaving behind him a wealth of memories and a body of powerful paintings.

Zamroud studied interior architecture at the Lebanese American University, going on to spend seven years training with painter Louna Maalouf. Combining his knowledge of architecture with his skill as a painter, his artworks, which were often based on photographs, explored the destruction wreaked by war, focusing specifically on the conflict in Syria and its spillover in Lebanon. His powerful expressionist paintings conveyed the tragedy of war without resorting to images of human suffering. Instead, he captured abandoned and temporary structures in nuanced, muted colours that evoked raw emotion in the viewer, conjuring a world of silence, devoid of life.

Zamroud exhibited at Ayyam Gallery in 2014, showcasing a series called Material Remains in collaboration with Lebanese artist Ginane Makki Bacho. In 2017, he held a solo show at Ayyam Gallery, and was also invited to participate in the 13th edition of the Sharjah Biennial, organise by the Sharjah Art Foundation and curated by Christine Tohme.

His work will be exhibited at the 12th edition of Art Dubai in March, where Ayyam Gallery will present some of his haunting paintings of Syrian refugee camps from Material Remains, alongside newer works exploring the effects of war on the urban fabric. They will also present works from his latest series, which dwells on “dramatic nature, trees, silent forests,” as he told Selections last autumn.

We are also honoured to announce that Zamroud’s final work was a painting for Selections’ collective exhibition Cultural Narratives, which will be on show in Dubai from February 24 to March 10. His work is a worthy addition to the collection of 160 unique works by artists from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Palestine, the UAE and Sudan.

We will miss his warmth and happiness and his memory will live on through his work and the cherished memories of those who knew him. His final series, he said, marked “a resurrection, a return to hope.” And so, even at the end, he leaves us with his characteristic positivity and generosity of spirit.