The colors of Brazil portrayed by a Syrian painter

Juhaida Al Bitar is in Brazil for a 45-day residency at Kaays√° Art Residency on Boi√ßucanga Beach in S√£o Sebasti√£o. The Atlantic Forest has dazzled the painter, who said, ‚ÄúEverything here is art.‚ÄĚ

Marcos Carrieri

S√£o Paulo ‚Äď Syrian painter Juhaida Al Bitar, 32, arrived in Brazil in early December for a 45-day residency at Kaays√° Art Residency on Boi√ßucanga Beach in S√£o Sebasti√£o, S√£o Paulo. Used to portray the life in the Middle East, Al Bitar says that now her art has found a new ‚Äúpalette‚ÄĚ ‚Äď the Brazilian palette.

‚ÄúWhat I saw when I arrived in S√£o Sebasti√£o wasn’t just a sea, it was the ocean. Every place has its features, but here is different. The green of the forest is a green that I had never seen before, a unique shade. And Kaays√° is not just an art residency, it‚Äôs a family,‚ÄĚ said Al Bitar. ‚ÄúHere there are unique elements like samba, and people. Everything is art,‚ÄĚ said the artist on a visit to the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) in S√£o Paulo (pictured above). The ocean in Brazil possesses a distinct hue, characterized by a poetic blend of orange, yellow, and golden shades at sunsets, while green dominates the scene other times. This plethora of colours inspired my paintings. Brazil is magical and beyond description, and its people have golden hearts,” she says,

Kaays√° Art Residency is hosting Al Bitar and an artist from Palestine through a scholarship offered by a project by businesswoman Luiza Helena Trajano, board chair of Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza and chair of the Women of Brazil group. The artist came to Brazil through ambassador Claudia Barenco Abbas.

In an old bed and breakfast by the forest facing the ocean, artists from all around the world take turns in art residencies at Kaays√°, a space dedicated to art by the hands of art historian and entrepreneur Lourdina Jean Rabieh, of Lebanon. According to Rabieh, Al Bitar submitted her application for Kaays√° to the ABCC. Supported by ABCC Communication and Marketing vice president Silvia Antibas, she got a scholarship to get settled in S√£o Sebasti√£o. ‚ÄúI plan to keep striving to bring more and more artists from all Arab countries, as most of those who come to Brazil are either from Syria or Lebanon,‚ÄĚ said Rabieh.

The colors of the coast have already influenced her work

In addition to the contact with other artists and nature, Kaays√° offers its resident the opportunity to live the cultural life of the metropolis that is one hundred miles from there. Al Bitar has visited, for example, the S√£o Paulo Museum of Art, a.k.a. Masp, and watched a play at Teatro Oficina.

Born in Syrian capital Damascus in 1991, Al Bitar studied in the University of Damascus, where she received a master’s degree in early Christian and Byzantine art. In 2018, she moved to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, at the invitation of the Sharjah Art Foundation, and has since exhibited her works across Middle East countries.

Al Bitar works with various materials like acrylic and watercolor paint. These allow her to put on canvas the feeling that Brazil has given her. ‚ÄúEvery place has its beauty, whether we are talking about cities, deserts of forests. People have both tragedy and comedy inside themselves‚Ķ Nature is like each one of us ‚Äď it has several feelings. All this influences,‚ÄĚ she said.

Translation by Guilherme Miranda

Marcos Carrieri/ANBA
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