Also known as Randa Mdah
Artist and filmmaker Randa Maddah was born in 1983 in Majdal Shams, in the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights, and currently lives in Paris. She is a founding member of Fateh Al Mudarris Center for Arts and Culture there. She graduated from Damascus University Department of Sculpture in 2005, went on to study etching at the Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris.
Her practice is often rooted in the notion of homeland, working closely around her hometown and the inextricable ties to war, land, borders and exile. Her work frequently takes the form of depictions of faces, bodies and landscapes, warped by weight of experience and heavy with psychological burdens. She has explained –
“Those in search of them¬selves often cannot remember what was there before their coun¬tries were destroyed … amnesia lies in ambush… Still, the wounded con¬scious¬ness, as it makes its way from one land to another, keeps manoeu¬vring to avoid pain…How could I under¬stand destruc¬tion?’… Ruins dom¬i¬nate the scene. History and geog¬raphy have been dis¬man¬tled and reshaped by occu¬piers’ hands.”
She has received many awards, including being named one of A M Qattan Foundation’s 12 Young Artists of the Year in 2008, and the award for journalists specialising in cinema at the Aflam Film Festival in Marseille, France in 2014. She was awarded the Prize for Excellence/International Grand Prize at The International Takifuji Art Award, Tokyo in 2018. John Berger wrote of her in The New Statesman in 2016
“What makes (her work) unprecedented – in any case for me – is the life experience with which they are impregnated. They don’t describe or illustrate this experience; they are simply filled with it. This experience may well be, historically speaking, unprecedented, too. History, despite what the editorialists say, does give rise to new forms of suffering.
What is this experience with which these drawings are filled? It is a form of endurance, an endurance which is habitual, common and endless. A harsh endurance. An endurance in each body circulating like the body’s bloodstream.”
Maddah has had solo shows at; the Fateh Almudarris Art Gallery, Majdal Shams, Syrian Golan Heights, 2006, the Europia Gallery, Paris, France in 2015, and Gallery One, Ramallah, Palestine in 2016. She has participated in many group shows, including in Syria, Palestine, Israel, Germany, Italy, France and Morocco.