CASTLE, 2016

Oil on Canvas, 125 x 150 cm

Sara Shamma is a renowned painter whose works can be found in both public and private collections around the globe. Shamma was born in Damascus, Syria (1975) to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother. She graduated from the Painting Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus in 1998. She moved to London in 2016 under the auspices of an Exceptional Talent Visa where she currently lives and works.

Shamma’s practice focuses on death and humanity expressed mainly through self- portraits and children painted in a life-like visceral way. The Syrian conflict has a distinct impact on the way that Shamma portrays her subjects. Working mainly from life and photographs, the artist uses oils to create a hyper realistic scene, using transparency lines and motion to portray a distant and deep void.

Shamma has previously taught at the Adham Ismail Fine Arts Institute in Damascus, and alongside her practice has always had a strong dedication to sharing her knowledge with the next generation of artists. She was a member of the jury for The Annual Exhibition for Syrian Artists held by the Ministry Of Culture, in Damascus, 2006.

Shamma believes in helping others and has been supporting the United Nations World Food Program since 2010, during which time she produced Fighting Hunger., sold by Christie’s Dubai in 2012 with all proceeds going to the WFP. Shamma has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions including: World Civil War Portraits, The Old Truman Brewery (London, 2015); Diaspora, Art Sawa Gallery (Dubai, 2014); Q, Royal College of Art (London, 2013); Birth, Art House (Damascus, 2011); Love, 360 MALL (Kuwait, 2009); The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries (London, 2013); Nord Art 2012 organized by KiC – Kunst in der Carlshütte (Büdelsdorf, 2012); UAE Through Arabian Eyes, (Dubai, 2008); Syrian Artists, Souq Wakef Art Center (Doha, 2008); Panorama of Syrian Arts, Catzen Arts Centre at The American University (Washington D.C, 2007); International Painting Prize of the Castellon County Council, (Castellon 2005), Castellon and the Municipal Arts Centre of Alcorcon, (Madrid, 2005-2006); Women and Arts, International Vision, Expo Sharjah (Sharjah, 2005).

Art Awards include 1st prize in Latakia Biennial, Syria (2001), 4th prize BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London (2004), 1st prize The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, The South Australian Museum (2008), and a painting prize at the Florence Biennial (2013).


Solo Exhibitions

2017                London Art Sawa Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2015              World Civil War Portraits curated by Sacha Craddock at The Old Truman Brewery, London, UK

2014               Diaspora Art Sawa Gallery, Dubai, UAE.

2013              Q Royal College of Art, London, UK.

2011                Birth Art House, Damascus, Syria.

2009                “The Sema Ceremony from Turkey with Sara Shamma’s Dervishes” event organized by the Turkish Embassy in Damascus and Art House, Art House, Damascus, Syria.


                        Love 2009 360 MALL, Kuwait.

2008                Sara Shamma 2008 'Finishing Touch', Knowledge Village, Dubai, U.A.E.

                         Sara 1978 Art House, Damascus, Syria.

2007                Music 2007 Cornish Club Event Gallery, Kuwait.  

                         Sara Shamma 2007 Art House, Damascus, Syria.

2004                Sara Shamma 2004 Kalemaat Art Gallery, Aleppo, Syria.  

                         Sara Shamma 2004 Karizma Art Gallery, Kuwait.    


2002                 Sara Shamma 2002 Nassir Choura Art Gallery, Damascus, Syria.  

2001                 Sara Shamma 2001 Shell Cultural Club, Damascus, Syria. 

2000                 Sara Shamma 2000 Nassir Choura Art Gallery, Damascus, Syria. 

1999                 Sara Shamma 1999 French Cultural Center, Damascus, Syria.  


International art fairs

Selected Group Exhibitions


2015                Guest artist at the 33rd Emirates Fine Arts Society Annual Exhibition, Sharjah Art Museum.


2013                Florence Biennial, Florence, Italy.


                        The Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition, The Mall Galleries, London.


2012                Nord Art 2012 Annual International Exhibition, organized by KiC Kunst in der Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany.


2011               The Samawi Collection, Ayyam Art gallery, Dubai, UAE.


                        Syrian Cutural days in Turkey organied by The Ministry of Culture, Istanbul, Turkey.


2010                Art Prize 2010, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.


                        Nord Art 2010 Annual International Exhibition, Curated by KiC Kunst in der Carlshütte, Büdelsdorf, Germany.


                        Contemporary art from the Middle East, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, UAE.


2009                Contemporary Istanbul International Art Fair, Istanbul, Turkey.


                        Jableh Cultural Festival, 5th Edition Jableh, Syria.


                        “Let it be Jewelry” an Exhibition of unique jewelry designed by artists from the Arab World, organized by Sayegh Jewelry at Art House, Damascus, Syria.


                        Sana’a international forum for plastic arts, Sana’a, Yemen


2008/09           Damas- Paris, Regards Croisés The Arab World Institute, Paris, France and at the National Museum, Damascus, Syria.


2008                UAE Through Arabian Eyes the International Financial Centre, Dubai, UAE. 


                        Syrian Artists Souq Wakef Art Center, Doha, Qatar.


                        The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia and the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, Australia.


                        Retrospective of fine arts in Syria, National museum of Damasus, Syria.


2007                Panorama of Syrian Arts Catzen Arts Centre The American University Washington, D.C. USA.


2006                Syrian Artists Syrian Cultural Centre, Paris, France.