Jacques Toffi / Fares Garabet
From 03 March until 25 May 2018 the Berlin-based Galerie Hilaneh von Kories will present selected works by the Syrian photographer Jacques Toffi and the Syrian illustrator and cartoonist Fares Garabet in a joint exhibition.
For years the picture of Syria in the media has been dominated by violence and war. What began as a demonstration against the government in the spring of 2011, has turned into a relentless civil war in the coming years; a war, which is still going on today. Hundreds of thousands of victims have to be mourned, millions of Syrians are fleeing, extensive parts of the country are destroyed. The two artists presented in our exhibition deal with their home country in very different ways and by doing so they contrast their personal views with the commonly known horror pictures.
The photographer Jacques Toffi was born in Lattakia in 1952 and he has been living in Hamburg for many decades. It was here that he discovered photography after his training as captain and after spending many years at sea. For quite some time he has established himself as a masterly professional photographer of the equestrian sports. The fact that his work encompasses many different facets will be proven by this exhibition. The black-and-white pictures show Syria in an almost timeless way. Toffi‘s motifs are very distant from the current, disturbing images in the media of this war-torn country. His motifs are rather images of yearning, which talk about a country, that was once characterized by great beauty and which are reminiscent of the historical and cultural role Syria used to have. Magnificent panaromic views of different landscapes, antique places and particular historical places create by the means of sensitive images a peaceful overall picture, which contrasts the present situation in the country all the more.
The Syrian artist Fares Garabet is only too aware of the fact that the events since the beginning of the „Arab Spring“ up to the present civil war can only very inadequately be put into word and picture. He makes use of paper and pencil in order to make a bitter commentary on the current situation with his apt illustrations and caricatures. The frequently honoured illustrator and cartoonist was born in Damaskus in 1963. He worked as a cartoonist for different Arab newspapers and he also worked as university professor before he left his home country due to the ongoing war. In his drawings, which are mostly done in black and grey shades and only show the signal colour red, he makes an apt, often bitter commentary on the situation in countries dominated by dictatorship, in which death and political terror dominate over humanity and security of the population. With simple means the artist is able to describe even more poignantly the devastating living conditions and political events in many Arab countries and in that way he can make critical comments on the global political agenda.
Jacques Toffi (*1952) is mainly known for his pictures of equestrian sports. He didn‘t start to get into photography until after his studies of seafaring in Hamburg, which he finished with the diploma „Kapitän auf großer Fahrt“ in 1978. His passion for photography increasingly made him shift from a hobby photographer into a professional one. With his motifs from Syria he conjures up the cultural grandeur of his home country and also memories of his childhood. Jacques Toffi lives in Hamburg.
Fares Garabet (*1963) studied in Damaskus, Rome and Cairo. His Master and PHD theses concentrated on topics related to animation. The illustrator and cartoonist published his caricatures in numerous Arab and international newspapers and magazines. He received enormous recognition not only in the Arab world but also internationally in individual and group exhibitions. Until 2005 Fares Garabet taught at Damaskus University and until the beginning of 2016 headed the Chair for Graphic and Interior Design at the private university IUST (International University of Science and Technology). He published numerous books and in 2005 he was chosen best caricaturist of the Arab world. Since 2016 he has been living in Dresden.