The 27th June marks the opening to the public of ‘#withoutwords’, an exhibition at Mosaic Syria & P21 Gallery, with works from emerging Syrian artists influenced by the desperate situation currently occurring in the country.
There are different works and installations to be found in ‘#withoutwords’ that attempt to make sense of the humanitarian situation of the Syrian people, who are fighting for their rights and their freedom.
Some of the works have been clandestinely removed from the country for the first time, with others coming from Jordan, Libya and even refugee camps in Turkey.
One of the participants is the political cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who will exhibit some of his first sketches and will visit the gallery in August, to discuss the the impact of his work in Syria and the context of the uprisings in Arab countries.
At 60-years-old, Ferzat has suffered the brutality of the Syrian regime, since they almost broke his hands after publishing a drawing in which he caricatured the regime of Bashar Assad.
“There is something about a cartoon. They really get underneath the skin. Normally, the dictators don’t understand jokes, but the people do. So, when the iron fist comes down, it’s usually the cartoonists they start with” says Ferzat in an inverview for Time Magazine.
Ferzat’s comic illustrations tell the world about the Syrian revolt from a distinct perspective, far removed from the bloody images that arrive via methods of international communication.
More than 40 of his drawings will be shown, including many of his first published works from Syrian newspapers such as ‘al-Domani’ and ‘al’Ayyam’.
At the same time, ‘#withoutwords’ will showcase other invited, younger artists who have studied in Syria, but have had to flee the country in light of what has happened.
One of these is the painter and illustrator Hamid Suleiman, who has a series of paintings known as ‘Us and Them’. It reflects on the treatment he received from the military police in Syria, when he was imprisoned for taking part in the demonstrations.
On the other hand, there is the work of Samer Saem Eldahr, another painter who had to leave the country to establish himself in Beirut. This invited artist will present a series of abstract paintings that according to him, aim to “explore profoundly the interior of the human condition”.
Also exhibited will be Fadi Al Jabourm, who with his work ‘Near Death’, intends to represent the daily life that everyone in Syria is living, co-existing with death.
Other names that will be shown in #withoutwords are Amjad Wardeh, Hazar Bakbachi-Henriot, Momtaz Shouaib, Ramez Baker, Ramia Obaid, Ronak Ahmad, Sam, Safwan Aslan, Tarek Tuma, Zaria Zardasht and other anonymous artists.
Despite the persecution that many artists are experiencing in Syria at the moment, culture and art have been one of the principle concerns of the Syrian state, as under the presidency of Hafez al-Assad (the father of Bashar Al Assad), there was official encouragement to promote painting, photography, sculpture, cinema and other forms of art across the country.
Date: 27th June – 1st September.
Location: Mosaic Syria & P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London.
More information: www.p21.org.uk
(Translated by Daniela Fetta)