January 18, 2014

Artist Turns to Digital Art to Highlight Devastation in Syria

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Freedom Graffiti, with Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

On New Year's Eve, I was at my church's Watchnight service. The service lingered a little past 12 a.m.. I forgot that there would be revellers launching fireworks, so I was surprised by the booming sounds from outside. 

It struck me as to how fortunate I was to be able to be with family and friends, and hear the celebratory sounds of fireworks, while others around the globe may have ushered in 2014 to the sound of explosive blasts, gunfire, or to sickness, poverty and disaster. Articles like this about Syrian children affected by the war break my heart and I wish there was some way we could help besides contributing funds... 

(If you're wondering why I focus on Syria quite a bit: I had a Syrian friend whose outlook contributed to a growth phase of my life. I also follow news about the Middle East, having dated a few guys from the region; I've good memories of being received warmly by the Tunisians - another people who've experienced incredible national change over the past 2 years. Having said that, I'm aware of other troubled areas, and I intend to equip myself to be able to volunteer with an organisation in the future.)

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Henri Matisse's The Dance

To cope with the destruction of his homeland - and his studio, artist Tammam Azzam switched from painting to digital art. Remixing famous pieces such as Gustav Klimt's The Kiss and Munch's Scream onto Syria's landscape, Azzam's work is a raw and startling juxtaposition of the human capacity to create as well as destroy. It also bears consideration that Syria is one of the world's oldest occupied areas, and with the uprising, many archaeological sites have been destroyed or looted. 

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Paul Gauguin's Tahitian Women on the Beach

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Francisco Goya's The 3rd of May, 1808

Azzam's work, compiled into an exhibition titled I, The Syrian, will be shown simultaneously in Beirut and London till 30 January at the Ayyam Gallery.  

Meanwhile... I don't know any solutions. Let's remember the needy in our actions and prayers, and strive to promote the peace we have. 


  1. I bump into your blog and was amazed at how you take time to reflect about those in needs and less fortunate than us on the New Year's Eve, which is cool. I used to think a lot about those poorer kids and children suffering from the ongoing war and how they couldn't even have the basic needs in life, which is why I joined World Vision then by being a child sponsor. But I realized that contribution on a financial basis alone is not good enough but I have my own commitments here...which brings me to the local scene. I searched for schools and organizations that would need some help like giving free tuition to the needy children and I started teaching at Dignity (at least it's something that I know I can do). It's an awesome experience and while I keep those in the warzone at prayer, I make sure that I do my little bits in this world to help make it a better place. Keep up the spirit! It's great to read blogs like this. It helps to tell that the world can be a better place to live in. I'm inspired!

    1. Hi Billy!

      So sorry for the late reply - I've been crazy busy (you can see in my latest post haha). Thank YOU for taking the time to write such an insightful comment.

      At this point, sadly I'm still a financial contributor. It's so great that you're involved in the local scene. That's something I plan to do too, as I won't be very mobile at the moment. I suppose as idealistic as it sounds, the little that we do can make a difference. It takes that first step to greater things :)

      Have a wonderful weekend,
      Yi Wei