World speaking out

Gallery: Syrian war art is more important than Hollywood

It is unacceptable that the Syrian war and its deep, shattering, complicated consequences, are largely boycotted by most mainstream and commercial media.

But as a journalist and a novelist I can understand that there are aspects of this war that are better communicated through art than through the rough cold facts of news.

Blindness, turning one’s back to this war, is tantamount to permissiveness. This tragedy (and more than that, a consciously committed atrocity that Western governments are involved in) is allowed to happen, because it isn’t in taking place in Europe or the US. It is far worse than Covid-19, and I appreciate that the below artists, along with so many other artists, poets, writers, and journalists, are conveying what is happening in Syria. If only they were as visible as the daft crap that typically comes out of Hollywood.

Syrian artist Nour Zantah fled the country when the war started, but she remains in touch with friends and contacts, and followers what is happening there. She also witnessed the Homs Clock Tower Massacre when at least 17 protestors were killed. She protests the war by conveying intimate, detailed human stories within destructive events.

“It’s similar to the concept of war, when people see it from afar; they understand it but no such feelings are stirred. When they look closer, though, and see the chaos and meet individual victims, it all changes, it’s much deeper,” she says.

Untitled, 2014

Sara Shamma was born in Damascus and studied painting at the University of Damascus. She fled from Syria to Lebanon in 2012 and later moved to London. Her art addresses humanity, grief, and death, and how anguishing emotions can distort people on the outside.

Sulafa Hijazi was also born in Damascus. She studied at the Higher Institute of the Dramatic Arts in Syria and at the Städelschule Art Academy in Frankfurt Am Main, Germany.

Untitled – 2012

Imranovi is a Syrian artist in exile, now living in Dubai. His art is based on his experience of the war in Syria and on the refugee crisis in Europe. It is about oppression, starvation, and mass destruction.