Born in Damascus, Syria in 1945, Hadi Toron's life work spans four decades on three continents. Toron's need for self-expression began as a child, and was sharpened at the University of Damascus where he studied painting under Fateh Al Moudarres, Elias Zayat, and Louay Kayyali, leaders of the modern art movement in Syria. Toron graduated in 1970 with a degree in Fine Arts and a degree in Law. Toron's fine arts graduation thesis, a series of paintings inspired by the architecture of Damascus, laid the groundwork for a lifelong exploration of people, their cultures, and their surroundings.

In the early seventies, Toron married fellow painter Baha Al Omary and moved to New York City where he continued painting urban landscapes, adding New York to his study. Over the next three years, Toron obtained a Master's degree in international law; welcomed two daughters, Maya and Bisan; held his first solo exhibition; and launched his diplomatic career. In 1980, Toron began working for the United Nations, an organization that would take his life and his art in entirely new directions.

In 1989, the now divorced Toron accepted a U.N. appointment based in Khartoum, Sudan where he immersed himself in the pursuit of his two passions – diplomacy and art. Toron began a new series, Journey Through Sudan, inspired by the dance of the whirling Dervishes, a ritualistic dance in which participants attempt to achieve enlightenment. The next five years are among Toron's most prolific: He produced more than 500 paintings and held three solo exhibitions.

Toron experienced a dramatic cultural shift in 1994 when he accepted a U.N. position in the Caribbean islands. In Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Toron found inspiration in the lush flora and fauna, which is reflected in his series The Natural World.

In 2002, Toron took a life-altering step, seeking early retirement from the U.N. to pursue painting full time. He moved to the small village of Sag Harbor, N.Y. and immersed himself in his art, alternating between topics and expanding his series in scope, style and meaning. Two years later, and 26 years after they first met, Toron married Marie-Christine Matter. Today, the Torons share their lives with their extended family and divide their time between their homes in Sag Harbor and suburban Washington, D.C.


Hadi Toron
Damacus, Syria