Lahham, Rafiq (1932--) By Rogers, Sarah Ann
Born in Damascus in 1932, Rafiq Lahham went on to become a pioneer in Jordan’s modern art movement. His body of work is characterized by a diverse approach to choice of style, media, and subject matter. Working in oil, gouache, watercolor, collage, printmaking, and silk screens, Lahham depicts portraits, landscapes and cityscapes, Arabic calligraphy, and semi-abstract compositions. During the 1960s, Lahham was among the first artists in Jordan to incorporate calligraphy into his compositions and also one of the first painters to experiment with complete abstraction. Lahham is considered, along with Muhanna Durra, to be a member of the first generation of Jordanian artists to receive government scholarships to train abroad. He studied at Ente Nationale Addestramento Lavoratori Commercio and St Giacomo Instituto in Rome, graduating in 1962. He continued his studies in painting and etching at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. Upon his return to Amman, Lahham worked as a cultural advisor for the Ministry of Tourism until his retirement in 1995. He is a founding member of the Artists Association. He lives and works in Amman.