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Art In The Land of Assad

from Prospect Magazine

Syria speaks: Art from the frontline

A new generation of Syrian artists, cartoonists, photographers and writers has emerged from the region’s bitter conflict

by Malu Halasa

Our Saigon execution, Khalil Younes, 2011, 40x 30cm, Ink on PaperOur Saigon execution, Khalil Younes, 2011, 40x 30cm, Ink on Paper

An alternative revolution is taking place in Syria, while the three-year long conflict between rebel forces and President Bashar al-Assad rages on. Its weapons are not sectarian violence or chemical warfare but spray paint, cameras, pen, ink and digital illustration. For Syrian artists, filmmakers and writers, creativity has become the first line of defence against violence and tyranny.

Since the civil war began in 2011, there has been an outpouring of art and expression across all levels of Syrian society, from small towns to its war-battered second city Aleppo. This work challenges the increasing violence on all sides, which has left more than 162,000 people dead and nearly half the country’s population displaced.

A new generation of underground Syrian dissident artists, writers and thinkers has emerged—a movement that is gaining international recognition for its aesthetics of resistance. The British Museum recently announced the creation of a new archive of Syrian art at a discussion entitled “Behind the Headlines: A Revolution in Syrian Art.” And this month, graffiti stencils of Syrian martyrs will be included in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Disobedient Objects, a history of protest through objects.

[ click to continue reading at Prospect ]

Posted on July 15, 2014 by Editor

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