Frozen moments come back to life in Omar Najjar’s Search for Meaning and the spectator is left to marvel at the beauty of a moment long gone. The mesmerizing brush strokes in Najjar’s paintings miraculously come together to form a composition of great sentiment. In Omar’s words:

Each painting is the first painting and the last. To understand a certain composition, whether it is a field of roses, a family dinner, or a simple chair, you need to visualize it from an abstract point of view, inside and outside, the meaning, the colors, the scent, the feeling, and so on….
Just like every time you look at the next canvas
Najjar, Red Curtain, Oil on Canvas, 95x150cm, 2018

Search for Meaning is made up of 14 oil on canvas paintings telling different stories. Even though each painting radiates a feeling of its own, the technique used and the soul of the paintings are what put the collection together.

Walking into Zara Gallery, one cannot help but fall in love with the delicate, serene paintings showcased around the room. From Sayd (Hunting) with its calm blue shades, Ode to Joy with its silent symphony, all the way to Remal (Sand) with its sophisticated simplicity, Search for Meaning is a journey to tranquility.

Najjar, Birkah, Oil on Canvas, 70x150cm, 2018

Some of the visitors at the gallery described the collection as ‘nostalgic’ as if the paintings are depicting something they have seen and experienced before.

I feel like he took things from his childhood and put them into his work. There are a lot of things depicted in the paintings like getting breakfast with the family or going to the fish market; things that you grow up seeing. Kamal, Medical Student
Najjar, Earth, Oil on Canvas, 50x50cm, 2018

One of the showcased pieces, titled Ode to Joy, depicts an orchestra playing from the musicians’ point of view. The intensely, wonderfully created piece is part of a bigger collection that Najjar has been working on and strikes the spectator as a window to a distant place and time. The sophisticated abstraction of the painting showcased the intensity of the musical performance. Ode to Joy truly displays Najjar’s wonderful technique and ability in making the spectator drown in awe with delicate color strokes, that are seemingly spontaneous and effortless but happen to complete the painting.

Najjar, Ghaseel (Laundry), Oil on Canvas, 90x150cm, 2018

Another piece that wonderfully displays Najjar’s talent is Ghaseel (Laundry). The painting depicts laundry hanging on a string to air-dry. The abstraction of the painting is executed beautifully and gives way to nostalgia. The wonder lies in Najjar’s use of color palette and thick blurry lines, as if trying to trigger something deeply rooted in the spectators’ memory no matter how different that memory might be for each person.

Dana Rousan, the manager of Zara Gallery and the person who put Search for Meaning together also commented on Najjar’s collection:

What I like about this collection is how it’s so vibrant and full of life, yet so soft.
Najjar, Qamh (Wheat), Oil on Canvas, 85x215cm, 2018

In Omar Najjar’s Search for Meaning, an abstract universe of nostalgic moments that have passed us by, was created. Oil paint is no longer just paint, but a story that breathes life and radiates a wave of complex, tender emotions.

All images courtesy of Zara Gallery


Lubna Aqel
Lubna Aqel

I’m an Architect, writer, and a full-time awkward human being with a particular interest in Art, Philosophy, and Sociology. I find great pleasure in making-up wacky theories and interpreting social phenomena and weird occurrences.
Disclaimer: nothing makes me more furious than those who deem art unnecessary.

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