O  mar Imam (Damascus, 1979) is an Amsterdam-based,...

Omar Imam (Damascus, 1979) is an Amsterdam-based, visual artist, and Rijksakademie alumni.
In his dreamlike photographic works,
 and sculptures. Imam uses irony and a conceptual approach to provoke positive impact, and contribute to society reshaping, with playful seriousness. 

Omar’s photographs vacillate between mundane documents and utterly inconceivable dreams. From realizing that the viewer's imagination can be reordered. Omar directs the viewer with precision. The images do not depict a situation so much as they seem to expand the space and time of the subjects' reality, thus giving the viewer a way in. 

His project "Live, Love, Refugee" has been shown in 16 countries around the world. 

Omar is represented by Catherine Edelman Gallery. 


"Tim Hetherington" Visionary Award 2017


Moving walls /open society foundation (2019) 

Kunstenaar Basis / Mondriaan Fund  (2022)


2018/2019 Artist - in - Residence, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten , Amsterdam 


. The Joseph M. Cohen Family Collection , New York City, NY  

. The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

. Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL

. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

. Fenix Museum, Rotterdam

Main Exhibitions 


Photo London


Cortona On The Move. AlUla. Saudi Arabia
An Expression of Absence. Magnum Foundation. New York


Fictions Documentaires. Festival De La Photographie Sociale. Carcassonne, France.


Live,Love,Refugee. ENCONTROS DA IMAGEM' Festival. Portugal What is Home? Catherine Edelman Gallery. Chicago
Historytellers. Humanity House. Den Haag, Nederland 


Stateless. Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) . Chicago Chobi Mela. Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Shortest Distance Between Us. Dubai
Photoville . New York 
Rijksakademie open studio. Amsterdam Orde en chaos. Amersfoort
CBK. Amsterdam
Edelman gallery. Chicago 
La Biennale des photographes du monde arabe contemporain. Paris
Art Miami

Hope. Arles, France
Rijksakademie open studio. Amsterdam
Margin and Center, For Foreedoms.  Houston
Refest 2.0 . New York
AIPAD show18. New York    
Photo London
Another Way Home, Open Society. New York
When does a place become home? St. Ann's Warehouse. New York

Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy
Detours. The Nobel Peace Center, Oslo
AIPAD show 17. New York
Proyecta Madrid
Art New York 2017
Call And Response. New York
Targeted. CEG, Chicago

Al- Rahme refugee camp. Bekaa, Lebanon.
Tbilisi Photo Festival, Tbilisi, Georgia
If I Leave, Where Will I Go?. East Wing, Dubai
In Between/In Transi. Galleri Image, Aarhu, Denmark
Live, Love, Limbo. Aria Art Gallery, Florence
Mois de la photo. Auxerre, FranceLive, Love, Refugee. UN World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul
When Home Won’t Let You Sta. Angewandte, Vienna
Making a Scene.  Light Field, New York
Live, Love, Refugee.  Festival Internazionale, Ferrara, Itlay
Not Here Yet.  H2, Augsburg, Germany

Memory For Forgetfulness. ATHR Art Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Return of the Soul. Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam
Live, Love, Limbo. Photoville, New York

In “Live, Love, Refugee” Omar dissolves the recurrent representation of Syrian refugees by replacing numbers, reports, and statistics with hallucinations, fears, and dreams. He asks them to recreate their dreams: dreams of escape dreams of emasculation, and dreams of love and terror.  Sparse and surrealistic, the resulting images evoke the deepest and darkest inner worlds of those persisting every day with their roots stretching further from a home left behind.
In “Live, Love, Refugee” verbreekt Imam de terugkerende representatie van Syrische vluchtelingen door nummers, rapporten en statistieken te vervangen door door hallucinaties, angsten en dromen. Hij vraagt hen om hun dromen opnieuw vorm te geven: dromen over ontsnapping, dromen over verzwakking, en dromen over liefde en terreur. Ijl en surrealistisch, leggen de beelden de diepste en donkerste binnenwerelden bloot van zij die elke dag doorzetten, hun wortels steeds verder uitrekkend naar een achtergelaten thuis.

Omar Imam

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