About Johnny Semaan
Johnny Semaan is a Beirut-based Syrian artist born in Lattakia. He graduated from Damascus University with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts in 2007. He was then an instructor at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tishreen University in Lattakia. He obtained his Masters degree in Plastic Arts from the Lebanese University in Beirut in 2019. He is also the founder of Zografow workshop for children. Johnny is also the recipient of the 2019 Boghossian Foundation Prize in Lebanon for painting. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions both locally (in Syria and Lebanon) and internationally. In his body of work, he focuses on the human anatomy, through which he explores themes related to human nature and social life.
In his work, Semaan conveys narratives through figural posturing and symbolism rather than direct facial expressions, making references to love, absence, grief and even politics. Similar to a theatrical stage, the carefully coloured backgrounds in Johnny Semaan’s paintings support the characters that evolve on them, giving them a set and props to use as a foundation for their performance. He uses colour to express meaning and also as an emotional layer, which he emphatically declares as: “Colour remains my third lung, the one that saves me and keeps me alive. ʺ