Youssef Abdelke is born in Qamechli, north-east of Syria in 1951. At 15, he arrived with his family to Damascus. He studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus and graduated in 1976. In the late 1970s, Abdelke wasarrested for nearly two years because of his political positions.After graduating, he went to France, “attracted by anything that might satisfy his burning thoughts of painting.” In Paris, he graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts in 1986 and later from Paris XIII as a doctoral student in Fine Arts in 1989.Growing up in a very political family, his work was always permeated by his political agenda. He lived and worked in Paris as from 1981 until his return to Damascus in 2005.
After 25 years of compelled exile and of being forbidden to go back to Syria, it was finally possible for him to go back to Damascus in 2005 and organise a large exhibition there. Since 2010, his Syrian passport was confiscated and he could neither exit the country nor return to France where his wife and daughter live. Youssef Abdelke was arrested in Syria on the 18th of July 2013 by the régime forces, and liberated 5 weeks later on the 22nd of August. The works of Youssef Abdelke are in a large number of museums and institutions, including The British Museum in London and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. His work was lastly exhibited in Damascus and Hamburg.
Youssef Abdelke is represented by Galerie Tanit Beirut/Munich.