Nour Zantah was born in Homs, Syria in 1989. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus, 2011 and a Master’s Degree in International Contemporary Art & Design Practice from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Malaysia, 2014. Currently, she is completing her Ph.D. in Fine Arts, focusing on painting, at The University of Northampton, United Kingdom. Nour has exhibited her paintings worldwide including in Syria, Algeria, Jordan and the UK. Following the start of the Syrian revolution, Nour instinctively began to focus her work on the subject of violence and war, exhibiting a particular interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities that can be achieved while depicting violence, and complex interactions and inspirations evident in how artists respond to modern media images of violence.
Through my paintings I address the violent events that continue to take place in Syria, seeking to represent the character of the Syrian victims. My paintings are a medium through which to reflect both the trauma I and others have experienced, and the deep emotional and personal impact of war. In essence, the self-expression through my paintings has been, at once, revelatory, exploratory, intellectual, reflective and emotional. My choices and uses of particular painting techniques connect to the subject of violence in significant ways but these are often complex to articulate and unravel. Sometimes these choices are deliberate, but sometimes they may be accidental or intuitive. It is important, therefore, to become immersed in my practice. I often surround myself with an excess of visual information, in the form of collage, images and cut-outs. This is how I learn to focus my attention, while at the same time shutting out the outside world and absorbing the messages from the mass of material in front of me. In time, this leads me to an intuitive semi-automatic activity, which provides a heightened alertness and a conscious state of being elsewhere; i.e. Syria, in such a way as to provoke reflection and, ultimately, clarity.
London, United Kingdom