Born in Damascus (1979), Reem Yassouf graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University. In Syria, she worked as a draughtsman and jewellery designer as well as a visual artist. Currently, her body of work encompasses numerous types of materials to form multi-layered mixed-media works, illustrating her reflections on the turmoil in Syria and on her exile. She explains: “There is a battle between shadow and light, in life’s chaos and [inside of] each of us… I often mix techniques and I like to superimpose layers, to open up new spaces.”
Since the start of the Syrian revolution, Yassouf’s art has focused on the trauma that children have incurred from the war. Usually featuring silhouetted figures, buildings and animals, her works are composed of geometric forms that incorporate symbolic elements. The figurative forms are sometimes abstracted, deconstructed and disembodied with blurred facial features, linking together themes of body, memory and other psychological complexities. Her colour palette is generally muted, which highlights the textures in the mixed media. She explains that each layer brings a different feeling to the work.
Yassouf co-founded the independent Khan Al Fnoun (2014–2016) festival in Jordan, which brought together artists from around the Arab world and internationally. She has also been featured in numerous cultural magazines and books, including a UNESCO children’s publication. She has participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Andorra and the US. Among her accolades, Yassouf was awarded an honorary prize in visual arts from the Center for World Creativity in 2010.