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Born in 1974, Semaan Khawam is a Lebanese painter, designer, graffiti artist, actor, writer and poet who lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. His paintings seek to challenge official state censorship by highlighting socio-political consequences of conflict, sectarianism and the limits of free speech in the region. His paintings are rendered in a sombre palette to reflect his dark subject matter. Paintings such as Jidariyyat Aftal Daraa (The Walls of the Children of Daraa), 2012 include blacked out figures of children surrounded by fragmented and chaotic scenes that invite a reflection on instability and the loss of innocence wrought by conflict and oppression. His more politically explicit paintings, namely Bombing over Syria (2012), depict two children who appear locked in tension surrounded by black birds falling around them to signify the disabling effects of war. Khawam has exhibited widely at, amongst others, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, the Joanna Seikaly art gallery and the Nada Debs gallery.

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