Born in Damascus and his talent was first recognized by artist Abdulhamid Abd Rabou. In 1929, he graduated from the Teachers’ Institute in Damascus and by 1933, he was assigned to teach art in Homs and Hama where he met the French artist Michelet, they worked together on paintings of nature and persons. In 1934, he met the English artist Young in Hama where they shared their painting experiences. In 1936, he settled in Homs, after he was assigned as an art teacher there. In Homs, he taught, worked, painted and participated in different activities, the most important one was his initiative to establish a fine art centre in 1963, which became an academy later, where many talented people have been discovered and has improved the skills of many artists. Therefore, he was the founder of a live and vibrant art movement that continues to this day.
As a tribute for his work, the centre was later named after him. Subhi Shuaib was committed to his artistic and social values as well as liberal in his creative style. Some of his work that reflects this might be “Distribution Error”, where he criticized the gap between social classes and its negative effect on the society. He received the first prize in the Syrian Artist exhibition held at Damascus National Museum in 1950 for his “Back to the Village” painting. The painting illustrates a familiar scene; the peasants coming to the city to sell their products and buy their needs.
Subhi Shuaib was also elected as the member of High Council of Arts and Literature. Adopting a realistic style, he is considered the most important figure in Syrian visual arts.
Text: Lina Az-Zakaimi