Private Gallery: Syrian Wartime Art

5 Sep

What does a war do to the spirit of an artist? What does it take away, and what does it give in return?

These are the paintings of an unknown Syrian artist living and working in Damascus under violent conditions. They provide a rare glimpse of how the creative mind works under conditions of extreme stress.

Who are these people that the artist has captured? Are they still alive or have they perished in the war? There is a chilling undertone to all the paintings, including the ones that are not blatantly dark. As if death and destruction have crept in as uninvited co-contributors to the artistic process, with or without the artist’s permission.

The nudes and pseudo-sexual pieces are of particular importance in what they tell us about how the artist has internalized the conflict, and what his mind is spewing. The bodies are stripped of their sexual symbolism and stand devoid of any erotic suggestions. They might as well be dead, even though they aren’t.  Maybe this is what war does to those who are left behind. It kills them too. Slowly.

Click here to view the gallery.

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A.M. Khalifa

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