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Thaier Helal was born in Syria in 1967 and studied with notable painters such as Mahmoud Hammad at the Faculty of Fine Arts University of Damascus. His large, mixed-media works and innovative painting style have branded him a pioneer of contemporary abstraction in the Middle East. Following the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, Helal has explored the effects of militarization and its global discontents. His most recent work has focused on media images of the Syrian army, isolated against a black background to highlight the bleak realities of war. Currently based in Sharjah, where he is Senior Member of the Sharjah Arts Institute, and a Professor at the Fine Arts College at the University of Sharjah, Helal has contributed to the regional Middle Eastern art scene. In addition to winning awards from Tehran’s Contemporary Painting Biennial (2005) and the Sharjah Biennial (1997) and an extensive exhibition history that includes solo exhibitions at the Sharjah Art Museum (2000), he has participated in numerous group exhibitions in San Francisco, Dubai, Beirut, London and Seoul. His works are held in private and public collections throughout the Arab world.