Afaf Zurayk 

About her work

As an artist that began to paint later in life, wanting to translate and give form to the early experience of the Lebanese Civil War which was unfolding as she was painting, Afaf Zurayk's work is the trajectory of a personal journey rather than a historical documentary. After an early figurative period in oil and ink, shaped by an interest in the human form, the artist evolved into a more seamless practice once she relocated to Washington. Working on mixed media allowed the artist to explore an organic view of the whole through the interaction/interplay of the elements. Each of the constituting elements in her work are treated independently, and it is but through contrast with other elements that a holistic view emerges. In a world of memory and loss, punctuated by the color palette, Zurayk yet turned then to black ink in order to highlight her experiences: "Acting as both shield and bridge, black protects the inner world while simultaneously connecting it to the external one. In that sense black does not cover, but instead exposes." The spiritual meditations of a mature artists encounters a more formal language of abstraction; effecting an ambiguous transition and translation between darkness and light.


Afaf Zurayk was born in Beirut in 1948. She graduated from the American University of Beirut and went on to pursue a master's degree in fine art from Harvard University. Zurayk has been widely exhibited in Lebanon and the United States since 1987; she is also the author of three books. In Lebanon, with Galerie Janine Rubeiz, she held three solo exhibitions: “Persona” (1997); “Conversations” (2001) and “Painting 2000-2007” (2008), and a number of group exhibitions including “Pinceaux pour Plumes” at the Sursock Museum. Her work has been previously showcased in Art 14”London in 2014. Since 1991, the artist has participated in a number of group exhibitions abroad: The World Bank (1996), the National Museum of Women in the Arts (1994) and Martin Luther King Library (1991). Her work is permanently exhibited at Galerie Janine Rubeiz.