Working Artists

HANNIBAL ALKHAS

Facebook: Hanibal Alkhas Fanpage

Hannibal Alkhas was a famous Assyrian sculptor and painter. He was born in Iran in 1930, and moved to the United States in 1951 in pursuit of a higher education. He later earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Alkhas’ work was influenced by the ancient reliefs and stone sculptures of ancient Assyria. He developed a unique style of painting that merged the past, the present, and the future. He sought to capture human emotions in his work, and themes of love and hate, victory and defeat, war and peace, and hope and despair were common in his paintings. 

PAUL BATOU

Website: www.PaulBatou.com

Paul Batou, a native to Iraq, received a degree in pharmaceutical studies in 1982 from the University of Baghdad. While in school, Batou was inspired by many teachers and artists at the University.

In 1980, he participated in his first art show in Baghdad. After graduating, he was forced to serve in the Iraq-Iran war as a medic. He left Iraq in 1989 and moved to Los Angeles, where he has continued to create art that celebrates Assyrian heritage and inspires many.

ISSA BENYAMIN

Website: www.calligram.com

Known as “the father of Assyrian calligraphy,” Issa Benyamin had a deep love for the Assyrian language. At age seventeen, he developed an appreciation for the art of calligraphy and began studying it under the tutelage of Archbishop Havil Zaya.

Benyamin spent much of his life creating beautiful paintings that brought life to an ancient language. Throughout the course of his career, he created hundreds of pieces unlike any others in the world. He is also credited with the development of fifty-two Assyrian fonts that are used in various programs.

Benyamin passed away on January 20, 2014, but he is survived by his magnificent works.

MAHER MINYANISH

Instagram: @minyanish

Born in Mosul, Iraq, Maher Minyanish is an Assyrian artist working in the Chicago area. He resettled in the United States in 2009. Though he left his homeland behind due to war, he carried his love and passion for his heritage with him. Minyanish feels obligated to create pieces that represent Assyrian history and heritage—a common theme in much of his work.

A self-taught artist, Minyanish discovered his passion for art as a child and draws inspiration from the changing world around him. He is inspired by human experiences and stories, and is known for his portrait work.

JOHN MALK

Facebook: John Malk Art

John Malk is an Assyrian artist known for his realistic sketches and portraits. Using graphite pencils and charcoal, Malk has been drawing powerful pieces for years. A native to Syria, Malk’s work is inspired by people from ancient Assyria to modern Syria.

He studied art in Damascus, later continuing his education in Poland. In 1992, he resettled in Chicago where he continues to create magnificent pieces, capturing the Assyrian spirit in many of his works. His attention to detail brings his portraits to life.

FRED PARHAD

Website: www.FredParhad.com

Fred Parhad is a self-taught sculptor with more than 35 years of professional dedication to his work. Instead of pursuing artistic studies at UC Berkeley, Parhad chose instead to pursue a life in the arts and sought a path of his own. He considers history his greatest teacher, having spent countless hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art independently studying classical works. 

In 1978, Parhad began working on a considerable collection of classic Assyrian sculptures which are now found across the United States. One of his most famous works, the Ashurbanipal Monument, now stands tall outside the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California. 

YOUNAN SHIBA

Younan Shiba is an Assyrian-American artist and pastor. He works through various mediums, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and graphic design. He is currently enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Oakton Community College in Illinois, after completing his studies in Graphic and Web Design at ORT Technical Institute.

Shiba has a permanent outdoor carved stone sculpture located on the ORT campus in Skokie, Illinois.

RENI STEPHAN

Facebook: Studio Lamassu

Reni Stephan was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1981, but his family would later make the difficult decision to leave their home country due to persecution. They resettled in Detroit, Michigan in 1993, where he would discover his profound love for drawing. His talent was undeniable, even at an early age.

Stephan later attended the College for Creative Studies, where he furthered his artistic studies. With each piece he creates, he merges his love of art and his heritage. He is committed to recreating ancient Assyrian works that have been destroyed in Iraq and Syria.

RABEL BETSHMUEL

Website: www.RabelBetshmuel.com

Rabel Betshmuel is an artist living and working in Chicago. Rabel graduated Loyola University with a degree in visual communication and studio art. He creates artwork linking his life experiences with historical references. Experimentation throughout his work leads to the embrace of mistake and unexpected outcomes.

He works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, and assemblage. Rabel currently serves as the Assistant Director of the AUAF Fine Arts Program.

JOSEPH BADELPOUR

Website: Circle Studio

Joseph Badalpour began as a painter, graduating from the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he studied fine arts, figure drawing, and portraiture. In the course of his studies, he developed a passion for working with glass.

In 1975, he founded Circle Studio, Inc. and has since devoted his talent to creating unique pieces of stained glass, and has crafted stunning windows and three-dimensional projects ranging from naturalistic and representational to the abstract and interpretive.

Joseph Badalpour is often called to create stained glass windows for variety of churches in Chicago and abroad. Many times he has drawn upon his talent for portraits to complete these projects. Joseph currently serves as the Director of the AUAF Fine Arts Program.