by Luis Gomez
Marwan Khayat lives in Borderstan, but was born and raised in Israel. He spent most of his childhood and teen years in Nazareth where he attended Catholic school. Marwan’s family has lived in the Galilee area in northern Israel for many generations and it influences his painting.
“Northern Israel is known for its beautiful terrain and captive landscapes. It is an area dear to my heart… and a source of inspiration,” he says.
When asked what motivated him to paint, Marwan says he can’t think of a specific time or incident that got him hooked. He remembers enjoying sketching as a little boy: “Back in middle school, during Christmastime, I was the one assigned to paint on the glass windows in our classroom. Art has always felt as a part of me… it has always felt right to paint and sketch.”
How did he end up in Washington, in Borderstan? Marwan met his wife during college in Israel (she is American) and they then moved to the United States.
“Probably the biggest impact my move to the U.S. had on my art was simply that I was finally able to paint. I was able to find the time and the resources to buy art supplies and paint during the weekends.” Washington provides Marwan with inspiration for his paintings. He notes the city’s diverse population, history and the large number of museums and galleries.
Borderstan–the Dupont-Logan area–provides good inspiration for Marwan’s art. “I get inspired walking down the street, preferably during the fall, on a sunny but cold morning… where light and shadow are harmoniously intertwined on the houses along my route,” he says. Marwan said he particularly likes looking at the houses and architecture on Corcoran Street NW.
Marwan has no formal training: “I get my training from visiting art museums around the world, and reading related books and magazines.” When describing his paintings, he says that he does not yet have a set style or method, and describes his painting style as “dynamic, shifting through phases of fascination, disappointment and perseverance.”
Marwan works as a translator and he and his wife are expecting their first child soon. He has not had any formal exhibitions yet, but hopes they will come.
“For now I am using the walls in our house as my gallery” he says.
Editor’s Note: Check out Marwan’s photo blog, Wiser with Art.
I moved to Washington DC from Israel several years ago. Living in Dupont neighborhood had a very positive impact on my ability and desire to paint more and to become an artist. I guess if categorized, I would fall into the undiscovered, self-taught artist, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab, Christian or any combination of the above.
I first found out that Khayat was a painter after meeting him and his wife with their dog. (You learn a lot about your neighbors when you have a dog.) Are you a Borderstan artist with work to share? Do you know someone in Borderstan we can feature? Send an email to [email protected].