Sara Shamma was born in Damascus, Syria. From an early age, she was encouraged to pursue her love of painting. In fact, by the time she was 14-years-old, Sara had already had her mind made-up. She knew she wanted to become a professional painter. She graduated from the acclaimed University of Damascus in 1998.
"My art is a mirror for my life and for my experiences, and for my feelings also...And it is a way of how I see people. It is a kind of how I analyze the personality of all of the people that pass by me.”
Until five years ago, Syria was home for her and her family. The onset of sudden violence left a recently pregnant Sara no choice but to relocate to Lebanon.
"I was in the depth of the war. I was feeling that I am the war itself. So, I was really grounded in all of the aspects of the war. I was taken by what's happening. I am still taken by what's happening.”
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as many as 386,000 people have been killed since the Syrian civil war started. That number includes up to nearly 14,000 children. The faces of anguish, horror, and pain can be witnessed through Sara's realistic oil based paintings.
When asked if she would return to Syria once the civil war ends, this is what she had to say:
"I would love to move back but... I think when the conflict resolves, Syria will be a totally different country. So, I will visit it again and will see if I could stay there or not. It will not be the Syria that I used to know.”
Shamma has been the recipient of various regional and international art awards and her work can be found in private collections in throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.