Translator: Feyza Süsal
Proofreader: Ayşe Sena Erol
Artists in war-ridden countries usually describe chaos via extraordinary masterpieces as the art is their way of self-expression. As a recent example, Syrian artist Akram Abou Al-Fouz turns bombs and shell casings into a beautiful art to tell the story of the ongoing war in his country.
Nine kilometers from the Syrian capital of Damascus lies the small city of Douma, which was bombed and damaged the most by the current Syrian Regime. On the ruined streets of the city, a local artist named Akram Abou Al-Fouz has redefined traditional artistic materials. He switched to paint on mortar shells rather than on canvas and paper which are hard to find under war conditions. He seeks to instill hope in people and make his children’s life easier by painting the shells in traditional Syrian Arabic style.
Al-Fouz reflects his feelings of peace and harmony on the diminished shells. These works of art symbolize Syrian people’s challenges as well as their fight for freedom and peaceful way of life. The fear and struggle for freedom are both represented by his beautiful and complex designs in the Arabic style.
I lacked the necessary materials to paint so I used what I could find in the ruins of my house. I try to use stained glass, red and blue colors in my drawings. As I want to reflect the concept of peace and life with my art, I use bright and rich colors that contrast with what the mortar shells express. Douma is one of the cities receiving the most amount of shelling, so it is pretty easy to find shells.
Al-Fouz mentions that he was engaged in the work of art even before the revolution began. He also took part in preparing banners and calligraphy works for protests. “I started to help the paramedics when the war erupted, but I have never given up painting,” he added.
Through his art, Akram Abou Al-Fouz has lit a beacon of hope for his people and told the world the truth about the war in Syria. Thanks to his efforts, we witness how an exertive and ungiving person can raise a voice under all circumstances.