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Born in Syria in 1982, Tarek Butayhi studied painting at Damascus University. He focuses on female figures in his work that seek to challenge traditional representations of femininity in art – namely, the role of women as muses. Butayhi’s subjects are captured writing, eating, sleeping, texting and performing other everyday tasks that reassert their presence as humans, rather than objects of the male gaze. In this sense he does not seek to sexualize the body but instead highlights the slog of everyday life. There is a spontaneity to his paintings and an expressiveness found in his subjects that break from stereotypical representations of the female form. His colour palette is comprised of predominantly neutral tones, which are occasionally disrupted with bursts of electric pink and purple, and his blurred forms lean towards abstraction. He has participated in several group exhibitions in his native Syria, Lebanon and Cairo, and he’s held several solo exhibitions in Syria, Kuwait, Jordan and Canada.