Flavia CodsiFollow Artist
The Artistic Journey of Flavia Codsi
Flavia Codsi is a prize-winning, self-taught Lebanese artist from Beirut who was born in 1961. She gained a degree in interior design and worked in that profession for several years. During that time, she painted and drew in her free time and began taking part in collective exhibitions, where her work received positive responses from audiences.
A Milestone Achievement: The Dorothy Salhab Kazemi Prize
The turning point in Flavia Codsi’s career came in 1994, when she won the Dorothy Salhab Kazemi prize at Sursock Museum’s Salon d’Automne for her painting ‘Introspection’. This success was one of several that prompted her to focus on her art full time.
Depicting Beirut's Transformation Through Art
In her early work, Codsi often recreated scenes of the changing face of Beirut, where she grew up during the civil war. Dilapidation and destruction of buildings inside and out were key themes in these works. Her passion for Beirut’s houses of historical interest was also evident in a book by Nayla Audi that she illustrated, titled ‘Houses of Beirut’.
The Evolution to Life-Sized Portraiture
In recent years, Flavia Codsi’s focus has been life-sized portraitures, depicting people whose inner-most feelings and emotions are somehow brought to the surface and shared on canvas. Codsi likes to work in oils, finding the medium ideal for the large format she uses and the slow way in which the paint dries, enabling her to blend the rich colours that give her work vibrance and sensuality.
Beyond Hyper-Realism: Capturing Emotion and Story
Despite her style, Codsi has made clear her dislike of the label hyper-realist, explaining that she aims to give her characters the emotion needed to look ‘alive’, but that the story remains the most important aspect. These stories, or backstories, hint at conflicting emotions and tensions, while also commenting on key topical issues.
Inspirations Behind Codi's Art
Codsi has cited a range of influences, including Botticelli for his sense of detail and beauty, especially the way he painted hair. The surrealist wit found in Rene Magritte’s work and the vivid way that Frida Kahlo shared the stories of her subjects have been other sources of inspiration. Fellow artist and friend David Kurani, whose advice on technique was crucial, given that Codsi was self-taught, was a key pillar of support.
Exhibitions and Recognitions: Celebrating Codsi's Contributions
Codsi’s solo exhibitions in Lebanon include Phases, held at Espace SD (2003) and Fructivores, at Aida Cherfan Fine Art Gallery (2006). She has taken part in numerous collectives locally, such as Ashkal Alwan’s installation show in Sanayeh Garden, Artuel Contemporary Art Fair and the Women by Women show at LAU. Last year, her work featured in a show titled Hunna, held at ABC Verdun, and organised to support women artists in Lebanon.
Awards and Honors: Flavia Codsi's Artistic Merits
Codsi was recognised across three consecutive years at Sursock Museum’s Salon d’Automne, gaining first prize in painting at the 1996 event for ‘The Three Mounira’. She also won first prize at the 2010 Lebanese Diaspora International Art Exhibition in Beirut for her work ‘I love Lebanon’.
Flavia Codsi’s work has been noted as a source of inspiration for many forms of media, including book cover designs and poster campaigns.
While painting remains her priority, she has also experimented with photography and video.
She continues to live and work in Beirut.