Born in Aleppo, Syria in 1934, Louay Kayyali moved at an early age to the country’s capital to pursue his artistic ambitions. Kayyali received formal training at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, graduating in 1961 before joining the faculty at the Higher Institute for the Fine Arts in Damascus in 1962. During his time at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, Kayyali had the honor of representing Syria in the 1960 Venice Biennale (alongside Fateh Al Moudarres).
Although his teaching and productivity was limited to the brief period of 1962-1976, his impact on the younger generation of Syrians, not only artists but the wider “laboring masses,” spread through traveling exhibitions, lectures, museum acquisitions, teaching in public institutions. He is believed to have died in 1978 by committing suicide. Many of his works are now kept at the National Museum of Damascus and in private collections across the Arab world.