Soulaf Abas / Terre Haute, Indiana, USA
I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria.
In 2008 I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts from Indiana State University. Then, I returned to Syria and taught art at the Arab European University. I also spent some time translating books and articles.
In 2010, I returned to Indiana State University to get my masters in Fine Arts.
I graduated with an MFA in 2013, and I currently am an assistant prof of art at Rose Hulman Institute of Tech.
I went back to visit my family in Damascus-Syria in the summer of 2012, a year after the revolution began. To my great surprise, I found that what used to be my playground had been reduced to a pile of rubble, with bloodstains everywhere. The visit completely changed my perspective and my sense of what home means.
Upon my return from Syria, I started creating images in painting and printmaking that depicted what I experienced. For the first time in years, my subject and my process were working together in such harmony that I finally began to understand how far painting can be pushed in terms of process and concept, and how healing it can be.
Casualties become trivial numbers during times of war, and neighborhoods become insignificant remains. My “Syria” work honors those who have lost everything to war, but still smile in spite of that loss. It is dedicated to those who still give, though everything was taken away from them, and to those who love, no matter what.
During my 4-week stay stay at SFAI, I was able to finish 17 works (oils, pastels and watercolors.) While the number doesn’t matter, it was an indicative of the positive and productive environment of SFAI . The residency gave me time to explore and experiment; Time I have desperately needed for a while. I thought it was amazing to work/ live with a group of 12 artists who have very different disciplines and approaches to those disciplines. Their feedback and observations opened my eyes to new ways of seeing and thinking. Lastly, the landscape in Santa Fe was just incredible! This has been one of the most wonderful residencies I have had so far.