Active during a time of immense upheaval in the Arab world, Kayyali was one of its most prominent socio-political artists, his paintings externalizing the pressing humanitarian and political issues that surrounded him. His powerful depictions of ordinary people are characterized by strong fluid lines that define the figures and the absence of extraneous detail. Although reminiscent of Russian social realist painting, through his humane treatment of his subjects he conferred them with more individuality and pathos. He applies a similar treatment to his studies of traditional Syrian architecture, two examples of which are included in this sale.
His most important exhibition in Syria was entitled For the Cause, and held in April 1967. It toured the major cities of the country, but when The Six-Day War with Israel broke out in June and soon ended with the occupation of Arab territories, he fell him into deep depression, destroyed the thirty works in the exhibition and stopped painting for several years. He went to live in Aleppo in seclusion and eventually resumed working. The four paintings in this sale are from this later period.