Louay Kayyali is renowned for his portrayals of everyday scenes, most of which seem mundane and commonplace at first, but carry underlying political and social commentary. The artist's depictions have a strong focus on the daily struggles, particularly of the impoverished masses. In the 1960s and 1970s war and victories affected Syria and the streets of Aleppo and Damascus witnessed the march of history. These events shaped the culture and society of the nation, the repercussions of which could be witnessed in the form of the prevailing poverty and societal marginalisation. During the same period, the cafs in the area attracted Arab intellectuals from around the region, encouraging free thought and speech and thus becoming popular hubs frequented by likeminded individuals. Kayyali was a regular visitor of these venues, in particular the infamous Café Havana and the Café Al Shareq in Damascus, as well as the Café Al Qasser in Aleppo, where he was seen sketching the passer-by's and taking part in challenging artistic debates.
On one evening spent at Café Al Qasser on Baron street, Aleppo, in 1974, Kayyali encountered a young female selling lottery tickets. Although he was born into a bourgeois family from Aleppo, Kayyali felt deeply empathetic towards the marginalised people of Syrian society. Kayyali thus employed his brush and canvas to expose the adversity of the poor people, and with great sensitivity. The young female depicted in Kayyali's painting, although poor, elicits a sense of hope and positivity. She may be facing a time of penury as suggested by her clothing and her occupation, but she is selling hope to others - the chance to win the lottery. This is a rather ironic juxtaposition, because although she has the ticket to wealth and prosperity in her two hands, her reality is rather heart breaking. In this way, Kayyali's underlying commentary on social hardships also reveals the truth about fate and luck. Moreover, the commentary on fate and hope extends to the Syrian nation itself as it anticipates its own fate and tries its luck. Louay Kayyali's signature technique of painting on masonite adds to the worn, yet relentless nature of the lottery seller's character; she is determined to sell her tickets, even if each individual ticket is shared by multiple buyers as suggested by the half-torn lottery ticket. By subtly highlighting the individual struggles evident on the face of larger socio-political realities in the Arab world, Kayyali provides a window into the lives of the deprived majority, while reminding the viewer of the preciousness of every minute, commenting on the fragility of life. Kayyali offers, once again, a powerful and unique work, confirming his well-earned position within the established Syrian Modern art scene.