Monif Ajaj, artiste-peintre 

Né en 1968 à Deir Ez-Zor (Syrie), Monif Ajaj est diplômé de l’Académie biélorusse des Beaux-Arts de Minsk en 1995. Il enseigne ensuite aux Beaux-Arts à Damas où il illustre des livres pour enfants. En 2006, il reçoit le premier Prix des jeunes artistes syriens. Des expositions individuelles lui sont consacrées à Amman (Jordanie), Dubai et Damas. 
Le travail de Monif Ajaj est inspiré par sa vie quotidienne à Damas et son enfance dans la région Al Jezireh.

Born in Deir Ez-Zor, Syria in 1968 Monif Ajaj graduated from the Belarus Academy of Fine Arts in Minsk in 1995, and has since gone on to teach at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, as well as illustrate children’s books. In 2006, he was awarded first prize for young Syrian artist of the year. He has had individual exhibitions at the Zara Gallery, Amman (2009, 2007 and 2004) and group shows at Art Dubai (2011), Shaab Gallery in Damascus (2010), Khan Assad Pasha and Maktab Al Assad in Damascus (2006) and Darat al Founoun, Amman (2005). His artwork also forms part of private and national collections, such as the British Museum (London), Darat al Founoun (Amman), and the Minister of Culture (Damascus).

Monif Ajaj’s portraits are generally inspired by his daily life in Damascus and his childhood in Jazeera region of Syria. Men playing with their rosaries, slouching on the floor eating nuts and engaging the viewer with a penetrating gaze.  Highly dexterous in his drawing, his exclusively male and almost life-size portraits depict Syrian society in a satirical way and are reminiscent of the work of early 20th century western artists, particularly Daumier.