Rodi Khalil is a painter and like many talented artists, he paints to simply express his emotions, his vulnerability and his pain, he told ZÎV. His passion for art began on the streets of his village, Tal Hadat, which lies close to Damascus in Syria. He used to paint on house fronts, narrow streets and lanes. He mainly drew images that he encountered from his childhood.
Rodi was painting common scenes from every day life, focusing on the details and thoughts of people living in his village by using symbols and abstract structures. He notes that “those paintings became part of my childhood; reflecting on these images, they made up my personal biography. The past becomes a lasting memory.”
Rodi studied Art and Decoration at the University of Damascus, subsequently working as a stage designer at a theater and designing set scenery for different Jordanian TV stations broadcasting in Syria.
During his entire career as an artist, he has witnessed oppression and repression in Syria as the Syrian government refused to give him an identification card like so many other Kurds, so he had no rights. He told ZÎV that “sometimes, I felt like a bird with clipped wings. Being an artist helped me reflect and express my experience and feelings.“
Looking at his paintings, we can see the depth of his symbolism. The topics of his exhibition are these symbols and abstract structures, influenced by different cultures and religions. Here his work is an interplay between a real image and an abstraction.
The colors of his art are the colors of nature and he uses mostly natural materials, especially wood, to create a symbiosis of nature. Another symbolic element of his artwork is the use of clay, tree gum, vinegar, olive oil and cotton. He produces these natural colors himself by using different leaves and unripened green nuts, cooking them with tree gum.
Rodi believes that “in the future, I will develop and enhance my techniques. With my exhibition Symbols and Abstract Structures, I am hoping to build a bridge between my artwork and visitors. It would be interesting to see what people think of the symbols in my art, they could definitely create symbols themselves- finding their inner peace.”