Syria and its refugees have been a topic at many a dinner table lately. However, it's fair to say that most of us don't know enough about the complex reality of the struggles facing Syrians.
Here is an art exhibition to open our eyes.
Hamid Sulaiman's solo exhibition, Freedom Hospital, features a series of expressive ink drawings that tell the story of life during the Syrian civil war. Created for a comic book, the artist tells the fictional story of a peace activist named Yasmin who runs an illegal hospital. Born and raised in Damascus, Sulaiman himself participated in the resistance against the Assad regime and was arrested and tortured before fleeing to Germany and then France. The artist's statement provided by the Galerie Crone states:
He reveals what is mostly unseen behind the headlines, news photos and refugee debates: what it is like to live and die in this insane civil war, how one copes - or fails to cope - with the daily violence, what the Syrians are fleeing from, or what they endure if they stay.
Sulaiman's original drawings are on display in the Galerie Crone as stand-alone artworks. Noticeably, the speech bubbles in the comic-style drawings have been left without text for the purposes of the exhibition, allowing the images to speak for themselves. In the empty speech bubbles we can imagine the words exchanged between characters and relate to their situations as we fill in our own text. From violent war crimes to love making to marches of protest--the haunting black and white images tell the story of the everyday beauty and violence experienced by Syrians today.
While the drawings are not displayed chronologically, they work together to paint a powerful picture of Syria today. Juxtaposing executions with tapestry adorned alleys, Freedom Hospital changes the conversation.