David Najib Kasir is an Artist/Painter/Muralist/Curator who lives and works in Milwaukee WI. His work comprises of personal narratives in life and cultural history or events. In recent years, Kasir’s work draws from turmoil and stories of his parents’ native countries. Nations involving the U.S. and the current crisis from where they migrated from (Syria-Mother/ Iraq- Father). As an artist born here, Kasir reveals his cultural identity in paint and designs to inform the viewers on the recent wars in Syria (as well as other Middle Eastern countries), in hopes viewers can grow an understanding of the millions of voiceless Arabs now living in chaos and disarray.
By using beautiful traditional Arab designs called Zellige to dress the figures and landscape environments in his work, Kasir shows the beauty of a culture and the tragedy as families try to hold on to it and hold on to each other as everything around them falls apart. Kasir has a BFA in painting from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design from 2001 and the proud father of two young adults (one being an artist themselves)
Medium: Oil paint on panel/canvas
Favorite Artist Tool: Paintbrush
Go-to Local Inspiration: Contemporary art museums
Mentee Compliment: Wearing Colin’s designed shirts makes people think I am a lot cooler than I actually am.
Fun Fact: I once dressed as Santa Claus and danced on stage with The Flaming Lips for the whole night.
Serious Fact: I only paint because the Chicago Bulls or Milwaukee Bucks never drafted me on Draft night after graduating from art school.
I center my work around the maligned culture and people of which I was born into of a Syrian mother and Iraqi father. I envision their homeland in the current state of destructive rubble and unrecognizable to how they last left it. In neighborhoods of streets that are like the ones where I played outside as a child, I position the viewers in the midst of the destruction, separation, and loss of lives as families desperately attempt to stay intact. I entrap figures in Arab Zellij and mosaic pattern designs not as a backdrop to the figures, but as a means to give them a profile through what the patterns represent culturally. The cultural patterns that these figures hold on to get chipped away just as their own families, homes, and security.