We had the good fortune of connecting with Tony Khawam and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tony, what inspires your business success?
I am inspired by art history, cultural heritage and the multicultural communities that comprise our major metropolitan areas in the United States. I am an artist and curator, deeply influenced by my surroundings especially in the areas of social disruption, immigration, and modern American culture. During the past five years of exhibiting my artwork that was influenced by the Syrian war and Covid social disruption, I have accumulated many people’s contacts and testimonials, which were very inspiring and encouraged me to come up with curated cultural heritage art exhibition tour projects. In these testimonials, exhibit attendants thanked me for ”inspiring paintings and stories” and “sharing thoughts about the hopeful paintings” and “loved the explanation of the inspiration of the work” and “for the cultural history presentations” One couple described how they loved the heritage connection with the contemporary artworks.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am Tony Khawam, a Syrian American artist who immigrated with my parents to the U.S. at age 16. I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now I live and work in Florida. I was a frequent visitor to Aleppo and Damascus National Museums during my childhood that exposed me to the art of ancient civilizations that shaped my current artistic direction with influences of post-war German and American art. I stopped painting in 2001 after the events of 9/11, but picked up my brush again in 2015 influenced by the Syrian war that ravages my birthplace of Aleppo, Syria. The urgency to exhibit my recent heritage work paved the way to curate a contemporary art exhibit with cultural heritage online virtual events such as cultural and historical lectures, music performances, film screening and culinary arts talk to further enhance the overall cross-cultural experience. I am an artist and curator, the author of “Emerging Art From War-Torn Syria: War & Hope” and “Crossing Borders: Artists From The Middle East and America. In 2017, my wife and I founded a collective artists gallery with online viewing rooms and in-person gallery exhibitions through sponsorship from arts and cultural organizations, We promote the projects and participating artists with a focus on the socio-cultural issues, such as cultural heritage, social disruption, displacement, immigration intertwined with the American culture.
I believe in the power of arts through my artwork and the curatorial exhibitions by bringing the community together to increase knowledge, build awareness, spark interest for cultural bridge building and understanding. Art builds community and creates space for dialogue by bringing people together from communities of various cultural backgrounds and exposing them to arts and culture while viewing artworks, tasting authentic food, and listening to classical music. Also, I believe in the power of social media especially after the Pandemic disruption on our works and lifestyle which offers an opportunity to engage a larger audience via Zoom and Live streaming of lectures, performances, poetry, film screening and culinary arts.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We will explore different places every day including most popular tourist’s areas, arts and cultural points of interest including dining, and brand outlet shopping experience in the Miami area. Tourists spots: South Beach, Ocean drive, Lincoln road shopping and restaurants and Everglades national park boat tour adventure. Cultural places: Pérez Art Museum, Phillip & Patricia Museum of Science, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Design and Wynwood Art District. Shopping experience: Sawgrass Mall and dining in Sunrise.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The multidisciplinary works of the artists and the community deserve some recognition by shedding light on the artist’s own heritage and social influences on their art. Other recognition is to members of our local community urban heroes. The diversity in our various communities is important for a healthy and successful urban community, whether in one-on-one relationships or in a broad sense of the community development. Through the arts we can build cultural understanding, and raise awareness to create a unique forum of dialogue to promote civic engagement and community dialogue with the opportunity to reflect on the future of the county and state.
Credit for Gallery photography, Curator, Tony Khawam Paintings Credit: Artist, Tony Khawam, Artist Nizar Sabour, Artist Manhal Issa
Credit for Gallery photography at ArtServe by Curator, Tony Khawam