One Artist Is Coping With the Syrian War By “Painting On Death”

"Painting on these tools of death helps take away the fear in the eyes of my children..."

A Syrian artist from the rebel-held city of Douma has been painting on spent bombs and other objects of war as a way to cope with and defy the Assad regime’s campaign of terror against its own citizens.


Akram Abo Alfoz, a 38-year-old father of three, sees his art as an act of resistance. “We will stay here, said Alfoz to Global Voices. “Even if you scorch our land, we will stay in the cradle of civilizations to rebuild it again. We will make bridges from our bodies for the generations to cross to the future. We will build a new civilization from the ruins of our homes. We will make a Christmas tree from your shells and bombs, and light it for peace in our wounded Ghouta.”

He sees the very act of transforming once deadly military detritus into beautiful pieces of artwork as one form of disarming the pro-government forces that have besieged his city and its residents since 2013. He entitled the project “Painting on Death,” has set up a Facebook page of the same name as a virtually gallery showcasing his work.

For Alfoz, his art is also an effective tool to keep his kids from being terrified. “Painting on these tools of death helps take away the fear in the eyes of my children who never leave me during the painting process from the beginning until the end.”

With all the hopelessness surrounding Alfoz and his neighbors, the artist hopes that his work will create tangible testament to the evils perpetrated by the Syrian government. “I wanted to make a piece of work that serves as a testimony for this era so that I never forget the crimes of [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad,” said Alfoz to Middle East Eye.

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