Fadi Khiyo

About Fadi Khiyo

Technique: Oil on canvas, sculpture: plaster

Fadi Khiyo is an Assyrian painter known for his unique large-size expressionistic portraits. Born in the Khabour Valley of Syria in 1982, Khiyo graduated from Al-Hassake Institute of Arts in 2002. He had many art exhibitions before he finally earned his certification from Al-Adham Esmael School of Abstract Art in Damascus.

Despite the war in Syria, Khiyo refused to flee the country, until ISIS kidnapped many of his relatives from the Khabour region in 2015. After they were released in 2016, Khiyo fled with his family to Lebanon where he continues to paint.

“The face mirrors the person’s soul,” says Khiyo. His most impressive work focuses entirely on portraits of unknown people. While he rarely talks about the motivation of his art, the sudden death of his father triggered a radical shift in his style.

Having lived through the modern Assyrian genocide, Khiyo noticed a dramatic change in people’s demeanor. ‘I started seeing people’s inner conflicts and fears at a deeper level,’ Khiyo explains, ‘These paintings are how I see them now.

The research project “Gilgamesh: Untold Experiences of Vulnerable Groups” is co-financed by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.