Ayman Baalbaki was born in Odeisse, a village situated close to Lebanon's border with Israel. Growing up during the civil war and then experiencing Israeli occupation and subsequent displacement as a result of this conflict, Baalbaki work is full of allusions to war. As he has said 'The Lebanese don't want to address the issue of war but at the same time it's everywhere. I am part of a generation of artists and writers who lived 20 years of it and don't have anything to say but about the war.'
Baalbaki's paintings focus on resistance in the face of destruction. His major themes- burnt-out tower blocks and faces wrapped in kaffiyehs- are treated in a monumental fashion with powerful expressive brushwork in the manner of Frank Auerbach. Baalbaki's iconography, and indeed his materials, are drawn from the socio-political context of modern Lebanon. Rather than painting this work on canvas, instead Baalbaki uses a fabric with floral print, of a type which is used widely in household furnishings in the more modest neighbourhoods of present-day Lebanon.