Comments and Reviews from Artists, Critics and Friends of the Artist.


Each of the following had written about the artist Hammad:

Dr. Mahmoud Shahin

Dr. Abdul Aziz Alloun

Dr. Saleem Abdul Haq- Al Hawliat Magazine

Dr. Afif Bahnassi

Dr. Ali Al Sarmini

Dr. Salman Qataya

Guido La Regina

 Farouq Albaqily- Arab Week – Beirut

Ghazi Al Khalidi

Tariq Al Shareef

Laure Ghorayeb - Beirut

Hasan Kamal

Andree Berkoff- Beirut

Vittore Querel

Ghada Al Samman- Beirut

Nazih Khater- Beirut

Roben Smith- Daily Star- Damascus

Asaad Orabi - Al Thawra Newspaper

Dr. Fateh AlMoudaress

Dr. Khaled Almez

Nassir Chaura

Nazir Nabaa

Abdul-Qader Arnaout

Elias Zayat

Khalil Safiyyeh

Mamdouh Kashlan 

Hiyam Nuwar

Adeeb Makhzoumand others...

Excerpts from Reviews and Analysis

When the student of nature and its elegance becomes an instructor, he would have entered the gardens of “Exquisite”; Exquisite is the eternal interpretation of the meaning of Art. Hammad used to look for the secrets of the accuracy in work. With long patience and after half a century of great effort and experience, he reached his abstract paintings that are known in generating one color from another on the surface of the painting, which release a scientific dialogue or color geometry, so to speak.

Hammad’s Works used to be formed after a rapid dialogue between him and the first color on the surface of the painting, and the second color used to come after an accurate comparison of both colors in order to generate the third one; such journey, the ascending structure, like an untainted chromatic dialogue, which aspects had been supported by extremely balanced graphics. Hammad hoped to reach the highest threshold which is converting abstractions of color spaces to a subject, or to an abstract objectivity as well.

Accordingly, we are standing before such thinker artist (who is originally a poet) and in front of two constructive processes; the first one is as Plato taught his students the ascending dialogue and the second is the descending or the analyzed one. But the process of analysis of structure cannot be formed without linear signals of the beholder of the artwork, and such involvement is in itself the ultimate goal of the creative product of the human.

The Work Agenda of Hammad

Some notes on the work of Mahmoud Hammad:

-Structure the work with a graphically prior vision.

-Find primary colors, the basic and adjacent.

-Search for the possibility of the reproduction of colors with the third and fourth.

-Avoid color oxidation in his selection of the desired chain.

-Control the focal points by color domination.

-Attain a stained graphic of (geometric architecture).

-Symbolic signals overlooked by Hammad were left behind for the viewer.

-As for the calligraphy, Hammad was able to take advantage of the configuration of the geometry of the Arab character and convert it into an abstract form. It is worth mentioning that he used to avoid the publicity.

-Hammad lived as a mature poet and writer, wise in his social opinions, he had a sense of humor and his smile was much like a child behind the window. Such mind with its spontaneous geometry and snap reasoning to form an idea or painting was a natural complement to the silence of nature.

Dr. Fateh Al Moudaress
Artist and Professor of Postgraduate Studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts- University of 
Damascus 1991

Hammad, and over the years of peril paths, and dozens of personal, collective, local and international exhibitions, used to offer to us every time the joy of innovation and virgin pulse which is not exhausted by the large experience. He worked in oil painting, acrylic and water colors. He also worked in the various techniques of carving, sculpturing, medals and illustrations, designed logos and stamps, in addition to fresco and memorials.

Hammad commenced his art career by touching the pains of Syrian countryside through his presence in Daraa/ Horan. He got acquainted with the farmers of the area, and knew the meaning of drought and fertility when it becomes associated with the fate of a family. He got acquainted with those who longed for rain, waiting for food eagerly and was aspired to portray such eagerness and anxiousness looking for a composition that embodies the monument planted in front of the sun in the earth. The peasant, his family and faith were embodied in paintings of dramatic topics which shacked his conscience during that period; such paintings are linked to the Palestinian tragedy such as: the displaced and afflicted children.

If we observed the shift in subjects between 1958 and 1963, we will find an overlap between the impressionism and expressionism formulas, a gradual interpretation from environmental issues to rural and nomadic urban Damascene, and then to the tragic totalitarian topics.Hammad is considered the first abstract artist in Syria, and as it is mentioned: Painting in any age was based on relations of innovative shapes and colors, and the extent to which such elements are filled with emotions. As the music remained in all ages, sound relationships in which the artist expresses his innermost soul, painting has become relationships of shape and color in which the artist included his innermost soul.

Hammad defends the abstraction after the vicious offense that he encountered with his colleagues Chaura and Zayat saying: "If abstraction was an accusation, our Arab ancestors would have been the first offenders or guilty, those who mobilized the walls of their historical art by geometric abstraction, and the art of music would have been convicted such as the art of painting".

Thus, we find that Hammad, since 1963,has replaced the search for the local topic to the search for the inventory of the heritage elements of letters and the elements of planning. Hammad starts from a letter, word or phrase, to end up with a portrait that does not glorify the literary language as much as it addresses us in a pure language of plastic art. He does not immortalize the letter as much as it proves its value and the absolute cosmic quality within the crucible contemporary painting, he does not hold the letter literally, but tries to extract its inner essence which forms the continuance of its mystery. The letters for Hammad are the fuel of a mystic adventure. 

He was immersed by new processes for the diversity of the texture of surfaces in the cubical heritage. Such period does not reflect only his Western culture, but also his authentic Arab culture. Elias Zayat comments on this final period saying: "You recite the world of certainty and are captured by the Arabic alphabets until they surrender to you and reveal the mystery of their pronunciation".

The formations of Hammad’s letters were a result of harmony between the heart and mind, passion and balance; this was explained more than once when he talked about the spontaneity of the first form then automatically communicated with demolition and construction, repetition, correction and obliteration until the attainment of the essence of form, composition and the utmost spiritual density.

Mr. Hammad says: “The Arabic calligraphy is an element of form and abstraction that could be relied on to accomplish artistic works based on an element of our heritage rather than relying on purely abstract shapes used in Western art”.

With the sunset of Thursday 11/ 1988, the great teacher had gone for eternity, he entered his mirror without coming out despite its serenity, it was rickety fragments scattered by nothingness behind the decease of Jawad Saleem Mukhtar and Sukaina Al-Wasiti and others; The art movement sank into long mourning. Hammad remained silent throughout all his life, the silence of pride edifice, and he often said:”He who speaks much, does nothing” and in this regard his colleague Abdul-Qader Arnaout talked about him saying: “Under the pacific guise of ashes, the embers of simmering flames rage,  and when they reach the maximum, the coal turns into diamonds”.

As for Nazir Nabaa he says: “He used to be the focal figure whenever he talks, and used to be respected and be the central part in any place of assembly”.

Assad Orabi

The abstract approaches were launched after a painting by artist Mahmoud Hammad which contained letters from the Arabic calligraphy in 1964, and when it was first displayed, it raised uproar as the viewers saw for the first time an abstract painting far from the uncommon diagnosis in other artworks that were displayed at the same period.

In fact, the importance of the artist Mahmoud Hammad does not go back to this stage which was overwhelmingly abstract and which provoked a debate about the relationship between the Arabic calligraphy and abstraction; but it goes back to an old stage where Mahmoud Hammad offered many experiments due to the stage of pioneers and what he offered from artistic methods and subjects. Then his experiences have evolved later on to start putting forward some contemporary works in their formulas which go beyond the first ones depending on a formulation offered by the artist and go beyond the mere marking of what is viewed or seen, and that was before his movement towards abstraction to provide the important attempts which were launched from the Arabic letter, obtained a special concept within the contemporary experiences of the Arabic letter, and offered a new vision within the journey of contemporary art and what it offered from different experiences.

As a result, the art movement in the Syrian Arab Republic discovered the importance of the Arabic letter with Mahmoud Hammad who offered an inclusive artistic experiment launched from the Arabic writing where he sought to reveal the letter from an abstract angle and the importance of its use in a contemporary painting. But Mahmoud Hammad’s experience had not reached this known technique except after passing  through several important phases and many researches and experiments that we may attribute to three important phases which conform in their basis and concepts with the march of plastic art in the country; a traditional, contemporary and abstract phase.

Tarek Al Shareef: Art Critic
 Al Hayat Al Tashkelyyah, Damascus 1985,Edition 19,20

Hammad and some words about his art career:

Hammad’s works are generally characterized by rationality which made him unique among his peers from contemporary Syrian artists, calmness and continuation in shaping creative forms. When we give his works the characteristic of rationality, we mean by this that Hammad prints his paints, photographs, carves and medals in a coherent personality which makes it easy for the viewer to discover.

With the volatility of its owner between imaging modalities and schools, it is true that Hammad began with the impressionism and turned into contemporary realism where he wiped the grief out of the faces of the displaced and refugees, and marked the steadfastness of those who chose the path of retaliation and dignity, and finally he uncovered the forms and kept a few geometrical models to use them for writing the meaning of creativity and creation, in addition to printing some Arabic letters. But Hammad himself in such volatility and shift remained as he began, an example of the steady artist who dreamt of portraying big works and the remaining evidences. The viewer feels that the artist is never full of his artwork before it is displayed to him and the artist poured all the shapes that he maintains on such work. 

Rationality may be the overwhelming feature for the artwork of some artists, emptying the freedom of its owner and turning him to a prisoner of a certain formality and tradition, but Hammad knows how to get rid of the shadow of militancy and intolerance in the crucial moment. Hammad does not run from feeling to subconscious as the Surrealists do, or hovers with his imagination and hits the derogation from the world of credible as the Romantics do but he heads towards the reason itself, benefits from the features of figures and harmonious vision of Pythagorean numbers. Such ration ensures numbers in the conscience of other numbers, subtracts and puts inside or outside brackets and sums, moves freely but does not deviate from mathematical logic and probabilities.

Hammad goes deep inside the world of colors where he extracts the most difficult and purest ones, but he can restrain such color in its reactance with anti colors that matches it. On the other hand, Hammad’s eyes fall on the square where he extrapolates its aspects, but is never satisfied, so he fills this square with a ball that reveals its harmony and paves the way for the square to sing with its straight lines and equal and opposite angles.

Hammad’s brush keeps on working and enters into the ball a number of inventions to decorate it, so he divides it into crescents swimming apart on the sides of the painting. And so, he stays with the forms until he transforms them into puppets, then he prints the primary modular configurations in the forms of beautiful letters and philosophical rules, marking other parts of the painting with assured integrated colors stained out of beautiful transparent ones. This is Hammad and this is his persistence in producing many distinguished works. So shall we call such continuous persistence a method or school? I think that Hammad with his moral and great productions was a creative pioneer for plastic solutions which made his paintings an abundant reference for youth artists and thematic scholars.

I do not need to say that Hammad was one of the deepest contemporary artists who influenced our local movement, and it does not occur to my mind to emit titles on his scholastic or academic method, as this requires from us to give him more space while exploring the surface of the art movement in the country.

Abdul Aziz Alloun
Art Critic, worked in the Dr field of teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts.
Damascus 1972

The Artist Mahmoud Hammad is one of the artists of the first generation who contributed in rooting the first seeds of the Syrian plastic art movement, and his name remained frequent for more than forty years. An innovative creative artist sparkled in the phase of maturity whether for his distinguished mature personality, his technical method or formulation of his thoughts where he adopted the research methodology which is linked to the deep experience and wide culture.

On the other hand, artist Mahmoud Hammad represents an intensive creative energy, where he possesses many rare talents in one person, he practices drawing, paintings, carving and designs medals (relieved sculpture), slogans, stamps and memorials and others. As for the technical quality in each of them, it makes us think that we are standing before a specialized artist only in this field or so; by this, he assures the saying that the artwork in any field requires comprehensive and multiple experience.

In addition to all what was mentioned, his efforts in forming the plastic art movement is huge as he did not save a single initiation without adopting or having an effective role in it: He was known from the very first art meeting in the country or the Studio Veronese in 1940 to Syrian Fine Art Association, the Syrian Artists Association for Painting and Sculpture and finally the Fine Art Syndicate , where in each of them he was a founder, organizer and center, and an honest image of cooperation and faithfulness.

Mamdouh Kashlan:
Looking for new formulations:Dialogue about the journey of suffering and discovery of artist Mahmoud Hammad.
Art Magazine, First Edition, 1986

Monotheism published by Islam converted the Arab artist as it is known from the diagnostic topics and made him in most of the cases finds his domains of expression not by remaking the features found by the Divine power, but by creating new forms that were famous in the world by the name of Arabic inscriptions. Accordingly, we notice that the Arabic art had reached our recent age quite empty from the traditions of diagnostic art which we find encumbered in the western art, and replaced it with the Arabic inscriptions which are originated mostly from animal and plant forms that passed by studies and analysis through the process of modulation and interpretation to enter into the logic of forms that rely completely on thoughts associated with engineering; such engineering that the Arabs taught and spread in the ancient times all over the Mediterranean.

But in this age, we notice that the invention of automated painting convinced the European artist that the documentary mission is over, such invention in the Arab world besides other factors we find it as a motivation to broaden the diagnosis in art. Thus, while the west were looking for romance in themes separated from nature, the Arab world was trying to be in line with such themes, mostly by producing mimic effects without thinking, Arabic formulas that exhausted its energy and are outdated.

It is noticeable in Syria in the part where the apprentice artistic traditions had vanished and which were sequential without interruption from the old arts that were found in such region, that the forms which were applied by the artists without understanding had no acceptable justification based on a clear intellectual background.

We often find that the Arabic dictionary is significantly poor in artistic terminologies which facilitate to the artists discussing aesthetic issues and their evolution in the language of their country. When we talk about painting, we are talking about the human who produces such painting works which leads us necessarily to the acquaintance with his upbringing and surrounding in order to understand the reactions towards the issues he encounters.I found such short introduction necessary for what I will talk about in my article. The current situation of art of painting in Syria may be classified into three clear categories: The first one is the painters who were born in the early years of this century, who in spite of their clinging to the traditional intellectual principles, they were able to well represent the Syrian art within their potentials and within what had been provided for them from sense and knowledge to their career. I think that Jalal is the best to represent such group.

Such group is followed by the group of artists aged between thirty and forty who we can call the middle aged; those painters who were attached more than others in searching for new free forms in order to reach an expression more related to our time in particular and for the collective research, we mention Hammad, Chaura and Zayat.

Their researches went beyond and exceeded their group until it affected the new younger generation who will be definitely the artistic face of Syrian painting for what they contain in their knowledge from research methodology and serious outlook.

This is the climate that Syria lives today through which we can classify the work of each art separately.There is no doubt that such period may be considered as one of the most important ones that the Syrian painting is going through; as many artists after being aware of the evolutions of art, sought to understand their reasons and results in order to be able to express their internal worlds in a contemporary language and without negligence to any advantage of the contemporary culture and civilization. Such language will be always elaborated with emotional exceptional power for them as Arabic artists.

I wanted to shed light on the historic period so as to determine the motives that lead to the launch of such new paintings in Hammad’s art which reached in its content the values of art impact.The last group of Hammad’s works is not a result of the desire to be in line with his production of the last evolutions, but they are the outcome and objective of the years of continuous work of visioning, searching and maturity.

When Hammad went to Rome to learn more about the concepts of contemporary painting, ever since that time he had his own personality and his views full of light reflected the colors of his land. His characters were always from the Arab world full of heat, emotion and mystic, but he was not satisfied and always felt the need to reach a further goal. He was not only related to his work, but also to his intellectual needs and his position as a contemporary human in a society of that age.

The period Hammad spent in Europe was crucial for his art formation, so it widened his cultural horizons without affecting his personality. He did not seek knowledge for particulars and details (painting), but sought it for contemporary thinking. In fact Hammad did not come back from Italy imitating the paintings he saw, but with many art issues that needed solution and his need before everything to explicit himself, the issues he felt and the feeling for the need to give his society as much as it gave him. All this was a long and exhausting work without leaps in the dark or adventures, but with gradual short and long development until he reached to define his personality clearly through his own artistic language.

We find that Hammad’s works are linked to that contemporary global expression; his forms are shown independently in an accurate identified space. We find also that the relationship between the major elements whether they were color or form, and between the space which gives it life, it remains the basic permanent factor in his work, and I do not mean here by painting what is contemporary, but the painting of every age. 

Hammad’s forms find their roots in the Arabic writing; he did not have this choice to give his art Arabic characteristics, but to put forward hypothesis and prove in its solution that the calligraphy may be a form, may be converted into an image and be a basic element in the same way that converts the scene during the Renaissance into architecture, but the architecture had been converted in the nineteenth century into decorations and embellishment. So if we assumed that Hammad chose the place of the Arabic calligraphy from the Stone Age, his works would inform us about the advantages of the Arab world in the way he concentrates on the space, his color traits and methods of interpretation.

As the language does not limit the mind, but it is a means of expressing, every time I speak with Hammad I find that I often talk with a person who has Arabic thinking not Italian. Although he talks to me in my language, and by using self but not objective language, he often expresses in the subconscious the emotions and sensibility of his world, all the things he saw and experienced during his childhood and the values his ancestors left.

Hammad knew that in rejecting the easy path he would choose the difficult, he preferred to search and look for the views or tale passage and rejected the entertaining painting that is privileged among the Bourgeois class to turn into the cultural contribution of the art of his country. In fact we find in Hammad’s recent work a serious methodology so that his production reaches the phase of aesthetic which may promote the taste of the audience, and so as to be consequently the start of a new production in the industry and folk arts.

Hammad’s painting remains realistic, but neither of the external reality nor from an incident or daily news, but from his self reality and internal world.At the same time, such painting had no planning, but a feeling and emotion, it is the signal engraved in his subconscious since his early childhood when the alphabetic signals were put in front of him for the first time to open his mind to knowledge; such signals enabled him to enrich himself, and today he turns them back to his society in an artistic image.

Guido La Regina
Artist and Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus
Damascus 1965

When Mahmoud Hammad started to form his first aesthetic experiments in the forties, the 

artistic approach in Syria such as the documentary, realistic and classic were the dominant in 

the productions of the first pioneers. While in the second generation of the pioneers to which 

Hammad belongs, the aesthetic obsession was mostly present and prevalent represented in 

addressing the reality and possessing its external appearances. Within such artistic community 

which is tangled by limitation and tradition of the art production, Hammad’s art emerged 

as a result of the difference of the dominant traditional formulations against an aesthetic 

that represented what is developed in its phase; an aesthetic that cannot be tangled within a 

scholastic certain frame, but can be referred to as a specific experience in spite of touching their 

impressionist information, expressionism and realism.

Hammad continued his journey to be one of the most prominent representatives of the 

expressionistic realistic approaches concentrating on expressing life from the perspective of the 

land and human. This second stage had its particularity in a group of paintings he inspired from 

the rural life in Daraa and became the symbol of a reality he lived with its details and reflected in 

his affections and emotions.

At the end of this stage, he had a relationship with the artist Adham Ismail who did some 

aesthetic experiments about the possibility of using calligraphy in paintings. Adham worked on 

embodying the content of the word closely from the real image; whereas Hammad used to enter 

the letters and words beside the viewed forms. After several experiments, the diagnostic real 

elements started to disappear to be replaced by the Arabic calligraphy in forms and new images. 

He entered geometric spaces and stripped the word of its literary significance until reaching a 

special aesthetic abstract world in which the aesthetic movement of the letter is mixed with the 

affections of the artist and his rational judgments at the same time.

Thus, we started to see modern worlds related to the roots and the aesthetics of the age, and by 

his departure, the plastic movement in Syria lost a pioneer modernizer authentic artist.

Khalil Safiyyeh
Art Critic
AlHayat Al Tashkelyyah- Damascus- 1990

Words of the late artist’s friends. 19/9/ 1988

In the late thirties, one of the old artists introduced to me a young fourteen- years old boy carrying some of his oil paintings of different topics. I pondered the works of that boy by admiration and wonder and said to myself: how could a boy of his age reach such level? In addition to his art I also admired the boy's politeness and good manners, but did not know that someday he will become my best friend and companion for fifty years. Since that time and instantly, a great honest friendship has been reinforced between us, full of work and art production in which we supported each other for renewal, development and creativity.

I was attracted by his good qualities which can be rarely found in one person. His good manners were close to perfectness, his knowledge and awareness and honesty and culture were all for serving others, things he lives in and for. He used to work silently without growl or weariness, without complaining or vilifying others, keeping himself away from the disputes of others for his knowledge that most of his time will be consumed in search and delve in work. Our career started and was interrupted only by the periods of study. We established Studio Veronese, which included some of the Artists; some of them are gone now, while the others still remember the enthusiasm of such young group of artists who searched for the truth, the meaning of life and viability of art.

The group of Studio Veronese has separated, but the need for meeting, gathering and exchanging thoughts and experiences made us look forward to establish the Syrian Art Association who welcomed artists in addition to authors, musicians and actors. Mahmoud was one of its active members contributing with what he can from works, so he designed some covers for the fellows writers, opening a new age for book covers in addition to his work in the plastic art. At the same time I had the opportunity to have my own Atelier which was for both of us. I recall the days and nights we spent together in that basement that was filled with love, purity and hard work. My pain was mixed with happiness when Mahmoud travelled to Rome to study at the Art Academy; I was happy for the opportunity granted to him and to be in direct touch with the international art production, but at the same time I was lonely and felt the great emptiness left by my friend and longed for the work atmosphere that Hammad filled.

Then Hammad came back after four years and we restored our old faithful friendship and continuous participation with the exception of the periods he spent away from Damascus as an art teacher. When the dream of an artist comes true by opening the Faculty of Fine Arts, Mahmoud and I were of the first founders, and ever since we remained together without interruption.

Hammad was a great pride and a man of good reputation. During his job as the Dean of the Faculty of Art, he extremely sought and did not save any effort to accomplish the building of the Faculty of Fine Arts. He was able to get the architectural designs of the building from the Italians as a present and participated in its construction by offering the decorative design of the interface.The construction started and was about to be completed, but the inevitable fate deprived him from the opportunity to inaugurate the new faculty and see its fresh students and alumni coming in and out.

Mahmoud Hammad whom we lost suddenly will continue giving after his departure as he was an example of the calm, serious and thoughtful artist. We lost him as a productive artist and gained him for his exemplary morals, principles and approach.

Naseer Chaura
 Artist and Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus

Points on Letters- Mahmoud Hammad

Hammad lived a life full of work, rich with knowledge and amble of giving. I can say confidently:” The history of the Syrian Modern Plastic Art Movement lies in the productions of Mahmoud Hammad. From the impressionism and expressionism, then to the abstraction and finally to the Arabic letter and its aesthetic that he launched internationally”.

These four stages in his artistic production are considered of the clearest prints in the history of our Plastic Art Movement. He deserved the credit of innovating such approach in the stream of the art movement and reinforcing it by his intensive wide culture. His unique fatherhood, his noble confidence as an artist, his exceptional ability to work and finding the way and method in the most crucial circumstances, with the least potentials and everywhere when being an artist, professor, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Head of the Department of Arts, or a member in a committee, always was the focal figure in speaking, and so to say that his position sought for him but he did not seek to such positions.

He left us a rich abundant art, just as the richness of his life, a production in most aspects of art: drawing, carving, medal, decorative and art designs. A production that bears in its soul the qualities of his unique character honors the Plastic Art Movement to which he belongs and goes beyond the borders of his country. He will certainly remain among us with such great production surpassing with his paternal endorse, the deep sorrow we felt after his absence.

Nazir Nabaa
 Artist and Professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus

Under the calm guise of ashes, the embers of the simmering flames rage, in the silent crater, the captured lava blaze deep down in the ground, and the volcano is alert of it, when it reaches the maximum solidity, the coil turns into diamonds. You were and are still an example no one can imitate either for the thin layer of ash that cannot conceal the embers, or for the desire of the volcano inside us to erupt, or for the urgent tendency to turn into diamonds before the solidity reaches the maximum.I do not know how to call you, you are a brother, friend, instructor and colleague. You pave the way to others to move inside such qualities which all exist inside you, one is puzzled in his attribution to you, but you do not become puzzled in your attribution to him, so this is who you are (Hammad).

Hammad the departed

Hammad the inspired

With your departure, you entered into the soul from another angle, you suddenly discovered the meaning of your non existence among us, heal the rift and collect the crowd together, give without favor, respectful without arrogance, blame yourself without mercy, but understand the inroad of others.

You newly entered the soul, so it may rest to the existence of something to protect it from inside.Such a thing is Hammad who has not gone.

Abdil Kader Arnaoat
 Artist andProffessor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus

Pride and Originality 

You were the guardian of the talent of the upper world, such talent came to you and settled in the composition of your flesh and bones; it was carrying with your soul the tender start of your youth and the greatness of calm silence in and around your mind where we knew the definite reference and where your wisdom lead us and was the final say if some people exaggerated in the interpretation of life issues or others were restricted by inharmonious thought or art. We look today at your achievements our honored friend, where your departure remains the tear of the heart as you are the sparkle of the hues of the color and its blast between the substance and light which was tamed by your fingers. Whoever saw you drawing your paintings, entrusting them with the deep secrets of your heart would think that you are chanting the world of certainty. 

You are strummed by the Arabic alphabets until they surrender to you and reveal the mystery of their pronunciation. In a last painting you started with the vision of the blue color, and suddenly a bright spot with the color of the sun appears within the deep blue, and then turned to rose that strikes the eye, but the eye breaks through it to another realm. Did you someday long to such realm so you left us a print from your last aspirations?

Your intellectual study is a model for the science durability and clarity of expression and the result of a culture that you have always developed with love and eagerness. Your scientific modesty was great, it was the modesty of a capable person.

Shall we talk about your achievements in the Faculty of Arts in structuring and building as everyone knows your praise in this. Along with being a teacher of generations, you were honest in your words, sincere in your business and your work was loyalty from you to your country.

People of thought and art, the man we lost is a great human being, His fate was to leave us in the utmost of his giving and richness of his wisdom. Our comfort is that we were his companions, but did not get enough of being with him; we learned and were eager to learn more from him. 

The mountain may be veiled by fog for a while, but the awakening of knowledge is looking to the glory of its peak, the authenticity of the mountain is that the wind does not scatter it but it increases the shine of its noble stones.

Mahmoud Hammad left us and we are all destined to leave one day, but his name and production will stay in the memory of the generation of our beloved Syria as long as the Arab thought remains the genuineness of our people and their heritage. This is not enough and does not fulfill your right my honored friend, but it may express the loyalty of companionship.

Elias Zayat 
 Artist and Proffessor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus

Translated by: Mai Akram Abu-Zeid