The Custodian: Artistic Visionaries: Serwan Baran

The relationship began with Dr. Ramzi Dalloul, a person who had a deep love for art and a serious mission. I could tell from his visits to my studio that he was genuinely passionate about art in the Middle East. Our connection initially formed through our conversations at my studio or his home. Over time, his visits became focused on acquiring my art.

Most of my work carries a political message, often poking fun at war and expressing opposition to conflicts and human suffering. Dr. Ramzi was particularly interested in the events in our region. My art isn’t just decorative; it serves as a record of the wars and events in our area.

He would often call me with great excitement, letting me know he’d be coming over the following week, eager to see my latest creations. When someone shows such enthusiasm and is working to establish an art foundation, it motivates the artist to give their best, hoping their work will become a part of the foundation’s collection.

Ramzi’s support was personal, driven by a genuine interest in art with depth and meaning. He loved paintings with a story and a message. What’s more, he was always eager to learn about my new works. He’d call from London, and we’d have long three- hour conversations where he asked me about my new art and the thoughts behind it, almost like he was a journalist trying to understand the artist. It was very comforting.

After Dr. Ramzi passed away, Basel continued the journey. He worked seriously and took a more educational approach. He established a foundation dedicated to research. Basel is a close friend to me and my fellow artists. He makes sure to bring us together at his home or in our studios. He has a youthful spirit, much like his father, and he’s focused on education and research. My connection with Basel is based on friendship and camaraderie. But in all our meetings, we talk about art and its future. He often seeks our opinions on acquiring artworks, especially those by Iraqi artists that he wants to add to the collection. It’s a friendly relationship, not just a business one. When your relationship with an art institution is rooted in friendship, it feels more authentic. Whenever I post a new piece of art on social media, Basel calls immediately to secure it for the foundation. His dedication and his constant support of artists are among his best qualities.

The foundation plays a significant role in preserving artworks in a museum-like manner. Basel takes this mission very seriously and has created a research portal that envisions the significance of the works a hundred years from now. Research portals are essential because they provide a place where collections are based on solid research and facts. Within the foundation, different sections represent various countries. These sections allow us to trace the evolution of artworks and study the different artistic eras in each nation. The foundation is the most important place for researching the history of art in our region.

Our relationship with the Dalloul Foundation is ongoing, focusing on the future, upcoming exhibitions, and the foundation’s commitment tocollectingsignificantworksfromourregion.Inthe current stage, private foundations are crucial, more so than international ones. The team is dedicated to offering insight into the future of our region, and Basel’s efforts are truly commendable. We are in discussions about future projects as we move forward together.

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