Biography Of Saad Yagan

Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1950, Saad Yagan is a leading contemporary Syrian painter.
He is regarded as a key member in the development of contemporary Syrian Art and is
one of the most significant modern-expressionist painters in the Middle-East.
Yagan began painting at the age of thirteen. He studied painting at the Plastic Arts
Center of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Aleppo and graduated in 1964. He held his first solo
exhibition at the city’s National Museum five years later.
Yagan is widely known for chronicling the modern day experiences of Aleppo residents
and their instinctive attachment to the centuries-old city. Yagan’s atmospheric paintings
have followed two distinct tracts, and can be divided between scenes derived from
ancient mythology and literature such as his Gilgamesh and Arabian Nights series, and
compositions exploring the morose café culture that hosts Syria’s recluses, alienated
philosophers, and an assortment of other downtrodden clientele.
Yagan’s narrative threads feature stylized figures whose elongated faces appear worn
by time, adopting the lines and brushwork of their settings. Yet their muscular bodies,
which appear to be patterned after the perception of hallowed bodies found in religious
icons, are rendered with an aestheticized elegance.
Over the past 50 years, he has produced a vibrant, compelling and expressive body of
work in painting. His work is internationally acquired, and heavily reviewed in
newspapers, magazines and televisions. He has also been featured in several art books
and his personal art books titled; ‘Gilgamesh’, ‘Music’ ‘1001 Nights’, ‘Liberation’ and the
‘History of Aleppo’. He has served as a commentator for Syrian television, broadcasting
a series of documentaries on art. Yagan has also lectured extensively in local
To date, he has exhibited in over one hundred exhibitions at home and abroad.
His works are housed in the National Museum of Damascus and Aleppo and the Syrian
Ministry of Culture. Internationally his works can be found in Musee d’Art Contemporainde
Montreal, Canada, Museum of Modern Art, Belgium and the Jordan National Gallery
of Fine Arts.
The artist’s recent solo and group exhibitions have been held at Mark Hachem Gallery,
Beirut (2014); Art House, Damascus (2011, 2009, 2008); Katzen Center for the Arts,
Washington DC (2007); and Art Form Gallery, Montreal (2007)
In 2012 he was successfully auctioned at Christies, Dubai for his painting Bayaa’ al
Jara’id Abou Hosn (The newspaper Seller Abou Hosn)
Saad Yagan currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon.

1964Graduated from the Plastic Arts Center in Aleppo
1965Began participating in the state ceremonial exhibitions
1967Earned the Merit Medal of cotton Fair
1969Solo exhibition at National Museum, Aleppo, Syria
1970Attended the Faculty of Fine Arts and obtained first rank in the affiliation admission
1970Solo exhibition ‘Black & White’ National Museum, Aleppo, Syria
1971Solo exhibition at the soviet Cultural Center in Damascus, Syria
1971Solo exhibition at the National Museum in Aleppo,
1971Solo exhibition at the Plastic Arts Center gallery in Lattakia, Syria
1971Solo exhibition ‘Denial’ in the gallery of the National Museum, Aleppo, Syria
1972Participated in a ‘Three Artists from Aleppo’. Participating Artists Louay Kayyali and Wahid Maghariba at the gallery of Dar El Fann and El Adab (Art and Literature House), Beirut, Lebanon
1973Solo exhibition at the Aleppo Bar Association, Aleppo, Syria
1974Solo exhibition at the Arab Cultural Theatre Center in Damascus, and at the gallery of the national Museum in Aleppo, Syria
1974Participated in a collective exhibition at Contact Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
1977Solo exhibition at the Arab Cultural Center in Damascus, Syria
1977Participated in an exhibition which toured Syria
1979Participated in the Canadian organization of Overseas Fairs Ltd., Montreal, Canada
1981Solo exhibition in the gallery of the French Cultural Center, Damascus, and in the gallery of the National Museum, Aleppo
1981Invited by the US government, together with 9 other artists to the USA on a special program to get acquainted with the modern American art.
1981Solo exhibition at the American Cultural Center, Damascus
1981Solo exhibition in watercolor at the Cultural aggregation gallery Al Furat – Nicosia – Cyprus
1983Solo exhibition at the Arab Cultural Center, Damascus, and in the gallery of the National Museum, Aleppo
1984Participated in the exhibition ‘Modern Arab Art’ exhibition which was organized by: The Arab Studies and Research Center, Montreal, Canada in Cooperation with the Montreal municipality.
1985Solo exhibition at the Arab Cultural Center, Damascus, in the Ntional Museum, Aleppo, Syria
1985Lectured at the University of Aleppo and the University of Damascus.
1985Juror of the international Biennale at the city of Gabrovo, Bulgaria; was invited by the Bulgarian Artists Union.
1986Obtained first prize at the order of engineers Syndicate exhibition in Aleppo on the subject of environment pollution
1986Worked for five years with the handicapped children of the Charity House, Aleppo, Syria
1986Solo exhibition in the Catholic Youth gallery, Aleppo, Syria
1987Solo exhibition at Ornina Gallery and the French Cultural Center, Damascus, Syria
1988Exhibited at Ornina Gallery and in the Annoqta Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
1988Teacher of art (drawing & painting) in the International School – Icarda - Aleppo, Syria
1989Solo exhibition in Ashtar Gallery, Damascus, Syria
1990Solo exhibition in Atassi Gallery, Homs, Syria
1991Invited by Goeth institute, Germany, for an exhibition at the Gallery of Monika Pasck. Hamburg, Germany
1992Solo exhibition in ‘watercolor’ at the Annoqta Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
1993Solo exhibition at Ashtar Gallery 2, Damascus, Syria
1994Solo exhibition in ‘watercolor’ in Levon Chante Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
  • Solo exhibition at 50x70 Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Solo exhibition at Al-Khanji Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
  • Solo exhibition at Shoura" Gallery, Damascus, Syria
1996Began presenting TV programs about art on the Syrian Satellite TV channel.
1997Solo exhibition ‘Gilgamesh Epic’ at Al-Jabiri Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
  • Solo exhibition ‘Black & White’ in Qawaf Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
  • Solo exhibition ‘Gilgamesh’ exhibition in Atassi Gallery, Damascus, Syria
1998Solo exhibition "The Deluge and Women" at Shoura Gallery, Damascus, Syria
1998Solo exhibition ‘Gilgamesh Epic’ at Four-Season Gallery, Los Angeles, and USA.
1999Solo exhibition ‘Toward a modern Aleppo icon’ at Alsayed Gallery – Damascus – Qawaf Gallery – Aleppo, Syria
2000Participated in a conference discussing the future of culture and arts, from the period after 2000 A.D at the Unesco Palace Beirut, Lebanon
2000Solo exhibition ‘Tarab in Aleppo’ at Ashtar Gallery (Bilad Alsham) Aleppo, Syria
2001Invited by the Kuwait National Council to exhibit at the Art Gallery in Abdullah Alsalem.
2002Solo exhibition on ‘Liberation’ in Attasi Gallery, Damascus "Bilad Alsham Gallery, Aleppo.
2003Exhibited in the Unesco Palace, Beirut upon invitation of the Southern Lebanon Cultural Council
2004Solo exhibition ‘The Wall’ at Fateh Al Moudaress Gallery, Damascus
2004Solo exhibition in small size painting for the book signing of ( Women and Flood ) in Dar Kalimat Gallery, Aleppo, Syria
2005Solo exhibition ‘Saad Yagan diaries 2005’ in Ashtar Gallery, Damascus, Syria
2006Duo exhibtion with the Canadian Artist Bernie Sorge on the occasion of the Canadian Cultural days in Syria at the Arts Syndicate , Aleppo and Fateh Al Moudaress Gallery, Damascus Syria
2006Participated in the Liberation Exhibition (A Humanitarian Document ) at the Public Park, Aleppo and Al Assad Library, Damascus, Syria
2007Solo exhibition at the Arti Form gallery in Montreal, Canada
2007Participated in ‘ Art from Syria’ at the American University Museum, Washington, DC
2008Solo exhibition ‘Thousand and one night’ - at the Art house gallery in Damascus, Syria
2009Solo exhibition ‘Music’ at the Art house gallery in Damascus, Syria
2010Exhibited ‘100 + 1’ ( Painting on ceramic plates ) at KARMA Art Gallery - Contribution for supporting Aleppo Citadel Friends Association
2011Solo exhibition ‘The other’ at Art House Gallery, Damascus, Syria
2012Successfully auctioned at Christies, Dubai for his painting Bayaa’ al Jara’id Abou Hosn (The newspaper Seller Abou Hosn)
2013Solo exhibition at Orjowan Gallery, Beirut,Lebanon
2014Solo exhibition at Mark Hachem Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
2016Solo exhibition at ArtSpace gallery, Dubai, UAE.
2016Solo exhibition at Tajalliyat gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.
2017Solo exhibition –S.V Gallery- Saify VillageIn Cooperation With Kazah Showroom, Beirut,Lebanon.
2019Solo exhibition ( Melhema Gilgamesh ) atClaremont university los Angeles – USA.
2019Solo exhibition at AL BUSTAN International Festival Of Music,Beirut,Lebanon.
2019Participated in the Venice International Biennial in Italy

Artist Statement

My art is universal as it portrays human feelings and psychology. Love, jealousy and other human feelings are the same whether you are in Japan, Denmark, Syria or Sudan. From boredom, to depression, to loneliness, I want to reveal what people are thinking. People mix in coffee shops and public places but deep down inside, they have a completely separate psychology and are each on their own.

My main aim is to illustrate oppressed people who are aware of their problems but unwilling to find a solution. I want viewers to receive that message and think whether maybe they can do something. Wherever there is a humanitarian crisis, the message in my paintings applies ... Saad Yagan