Portrait by Syrian Artist (English, arabic)

Syrian Artist Bahzad Sulaiman , 2018

Article link: click here
© Christoph Holz


Bahzad Sulaiman is a painter, sculptor and scenographer. He studied Scenography at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts, as well as Art at the Faculty of Fine Art, Damascus University, Syria. As an artist, he expresses his creativity through sculpture and painting, and has participated in several exhibitions in Syria, Turkey and Germany. Today he is studying a Master’s Degree in Freie Kunst (Installation, Performance) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saarbrücken, Germany (Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar, HBKsaar).
Syrian national, born in Roumaylan in the North East of Syria. Lives and studies in Saarbrüken, Germany.

What does your studio mean to you? How do you feel when you are in your studio? How important it is to have your own space in which to work?

Actually the studio is a space where I can feel free to create and produce. I think every artist should have his own place where he can transcend ideas, patterns, perceptions, emotions, feelings, and create. For my part I am happy to have such a place where creativity is fostered, and boundaries and destinations fall away.

Do your studio spaces need to have particular qualities? What role do that space, time and solitude have on the creative process? Is it more a place for reflection and creation, or a refuge, a hiding place?

The studio is a protected sanctuary of making, but it must turn outward, to manifest the artist’s vision. Reflection and inspiration need a “breath turn”, the space between inhaling and exhaling, before being able to go into motion and transform into creation.

I could compare the studio to a fertile soil for seeds to be able to germinate from seed to flower and set fruit — the artist being the gardener.

Sometimes there are circumstances in which freedom of motion in this place is denied to me, yet I always try to find a moment between the impulse and the action that embodies possibility to accomplish my projects. An artist must navigate change in his work and in his soul.

Do you listen to music in your studio? Do you work better with some music in your ear or do you need complete silence when you are at your most creative?

Music plays an important role in creativity and feelings of transcendence. It brings harmony between elements and ideas, forms and colors, and my own perception of being an artist. Yet I am not too much into routine and stereotypes in art, that is the reason why I do not like being stuck in any fixed ideas before starting to work, I prefer spontaneity and produce what corresponds to my emotional state-of-mind at the moment when I decide to work.

When you feel the urge to express yourself, how does it manifest itself? When you start creating a piece, how does the process unfold?

When I have an idea to express, I just start moving my body and changing position, I do not do any particular movements, but it helps me creating an immersive environment and putting myself in conditions of focusing. What is important is to transform my ideas and emotional feelings into external actions and thus get material results.

Yet when I start with the refinement phase of these actions to give them an artistic shape to showing them to potential viewers, it turns out that here I have to use the tools I have that ideally match my ideas. At this moment I can consider that I may have an artistic production to show.

What does you art express?

My art is the expression of my self, my vision and point of view on things that matter to me and provoke my senses, by translating them in my own way.

What are your sources of inspiration? Where does your energy spring from?

My inspiration comes from everything that catches my attention in everyday life, not necessarily something important, yet it always depends on the impact left on my soul that may create emotions. My energy springs from my ability to express these things in different ways and thus to make my own creative experiences.

What about influences on you work? Is there a particular artist who has influenced you?

My own artistic personality has not yet reached its final maturity, and I still need to go through many experiences to chart my own clear path. In every period of my life, like for any other artist during the 10 past years, I have been influenced by many circumstances that were dependent on the “where” and “who” factors.

What about influences on you work? Is there a particular artist who has influenced you?

My own artistic personality has not yet reached its final maturity, and I still need to go through many experiences to chart my own clear path. In every period of my life, like for any other artist during the 10 past years, I have been influenced by many circumstances that were dependent on the “where” and “who” factors.

What is most important is to nurture interest and curiosity for the creations and experiences of others, but in general, my work has not been influenced by any artist in particular, however, what I can say is that there are art movements and schools that I feel close to.

Being an artist is hard work. Do you have a lot of anxiety around your work? Is anger and doubt part of an artist’s palette?

I suppose that experiencing anxiety or other similar feelings around your own work is a normal process, at my level, this may be due to the sense of responsibility I feel for my art. Doubt and anxiety have always been a source of motivation for all artists, while satisfaction often comes after doubts, such as success after failure.

Is art a way of life for you, or is it a core thing? If you didn’t do art, what would you do in your life?

For me art is a way of life and a way that I am hollowing. I am very happy with my choice. If I had not become an artist, then I would have loved to be a dancer and express my emotions on a stage.

Is there a link between your art and your childhood? Do you remember the first piece of work that you created as a child?

At home, my social environment was not artistic at all; I grew up in a modest family struggling with the difficulties of life, what certainly influenced me greatly. I remember perfectly in detail my first creation in sandstone while I had carved a pregnant woman. At that time I had no idea what sculpture was and today I still do not know why I chosed to carve a pregnant woman! I would love to go back to this place and bring back my memories.

How much does satisfaction play a role in the creative process?

I think that every artist must have the courage to express and show his own ideas through his work. These expressions give an artist solid experience and background to find satisfaction and fully assume all what he creates; satisfaction here plays an important role within the creative process.

What value can art transfer to humanity?

For me acceptance of others, open-mindedness and appreciation of difference are the most important values to defend.

If you are living outside of Syria, how does being in a different country or in a different culture affect your art?

I am currently living outside of Syria, and it is obvious that my native culture and the distance to my homeland affected me as an artist and as a human being. What directly affected me when I moved to Europe was to start my studies in art and to discover new ways of expression that were unknown to me in my country; here the definition of art is quite different from what I learned beforehand. Now after all these discoveries I am experiencing and enjoying my new environment and my new influences.

How much of your Syrian heritage did you bring with you?

It is clear that the ancient and splendid cultural heritage of my country had an influence on me, and sometimes I show it in my work, depending however on the circumstances and the subject used. However, I prefer not to be limited as an artist and a human being, and to remain open to all other cultures, which I find really fascinating and stimulating.

What are your hopes and dreams for yourself as an artist and especially as a Syrian artist?

My dream as an artist is to preserve my human values and that life gives me this chance to keep on practicing my art by expressing it freely. I wish my country a reign of peace and freedom to be enjoyed by all Syrians.

All copyrights reserved 2021