Syrian expatriate artists

اعداد رائد برهان | تحرير رائد برهان | ترجمة سمارة بلبول | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 28 فبراير، 2018 10:15:22 م تقرير موضوعي فن وثقافة ثقافة
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Syrian expatriate artists

Living abroad has never come in the way of the creativity and success of Syrian artists. Indeed, their integration into the society, cultural and art of their host countries has only further inspired them to excel in their contributions to their chosen fields. Despite the unfortunate circumstance of war, Syrian artists have maintained a strong internal connection to their homeland, which has consequently served to shape them as artists.

Living abroad - inspiration or inhibition?

During an interview with the Finland-based Syrian move director and actor, Ghatfan Ghannoum, he spoke of how living abroad had affected his art and performance. He said, “ I see it as hot and cold currents. I get deeply depressed and nostalgic, but I overcome it. For me, an expatriate does not have stability, which is what I like the most […] I like to be unstable, it revived me, but at the same time it is difficult.”

Ghannoum has directed several films, most notably of which is the award-winning documentary Moon in Skype. He believes that the biggest obstacles faced by Syrian artists abroad are language and culture - both of which are necessary to understanding a foreign country. He also sees the promotion of a culture of teamwork as very important for Syrian communities around world.

Saad Hajo, a Syrian Cartoonist, says that he sees expatriation as an “incentive and preventative at the same time” and that “this controversy is what provokes the ability and imagination to make exceptional art” for “it opens roots never walked before, and opens doors which have not been knocked on hardly enough before”.

Diaspora artists achieve global success

The Great Immigrant:

In 2015, the Carnegie Corporation of New York honored Syrian musician Malek Jandali as the ‘Great Immigrant’ for his artistic contributions to American society. This was after Jandali became on the most famous musician and pianist in the U.S. and the world.

With a family hailing originally from Homs Syria, Jandali was born in Germany in 1972 and has been living in the U.S. for decades. He holds a degree in music from Queen’s University, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. His career began after he won the first prize in the National Young Artists Competition in 1988. After this, he received the Outstanding Musical Performer of Queen’s University in 1997. At the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011, he received the Freedom of Expression award in Los Angeles, for his famous composition of Watani Ana (I am my homeland). A year after that, Jandali received the Culture and Arts Achievements Award in New York.

One of Jandali’s most notable pieces is his composition of the oldest notated music in the world, which was an inscription discovered on cuneiform tablets in Ugarit, near Latakia. The song is recorded with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, as part of the Echoes from Ugarit album in 2008. in 2012, he released the album, Emessa (an old name for Homs), as an expression of Syrian people’s suffering during the revolution.

Jandali’s brush with dictatorships:

For the Syrian artist, Saad Haji, the brush has never been only a tool for drawing. It has always been a weapon to face dictatorships in the Arab world, especially in Syria where he was born and raised. After years of living in Sweden, returning someday to Syria has now become his dream.

Halo was born in Damascus in 1968. He studied painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus. During the 90s, he specialised in drawing caricatures and his was published in the Lebanese newspapers, al-Safeer and al-Nahar. He then became the head of the caricature department in the 24 News Agency. During the revolution, his work was published on several Syrian opposition websites.

Much of his work criticises Arab governments and shows the suffering of people, especially Syrian people. He won the EWK prize for political cartoons in Sweden in 2015 for artwork that critiques dictatorship and defends freedom and justice. He won the Gabrovo Cartoon prize in Bulgaria.

Halo participated and launched several exhibits in different cities around the world. In Istanbul, he launched an exhibition under the name ‘A President for No Reason, It’s Impolite’. The exhibit shows how Bashar al-Assad is subsumed by power, despite losing control over most of the country.

The international novelist:

Rafik Schami, a Syrian novelist, was born in Damascus in 1946. He left for Germany in 1971, where he obtained a PhD in organic chemistry. After working in his field for a while he began devoting himself to writing.

Schami is one of Syria’s most famous contemporary novelists living in Germany. He has written several novels and literary pieces that have been translated into more than 28 languages. Most of his writings are about Syria and Damascus, such as Maaloula Legends, Damascus in the Heart, Homesickness Travels without Travel Card, and Sofia; in addition to children’s literature such as Swallow’s Nostalgia and Fatima and the Dream Thief.

He has won several prizes and titles in Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States, Austria and several other countries. He won the Hermann Hesse-Preis in Germany 1994, the Storytelling World Prize in 1997 in the U.S., the Wilheimer Literaturpreis in 2003, and the Georg Glaser Prize for literature in 2011.

Schami has supported the Syrian revolution since the beginning and he has criticized the way in which the government has reacted to the revolution, stating “the government with its bloody intelligence is the only body responsible for what is happening in Syria.”

Art in the time of revolution:

The Syrian revolution has changed the lives of millions of Syrians, including many artists. Artists have either left Syria because of their opposition to the government which has endangered their lives, or they have gone in search of better opportunities. The consequences of the revolution has also affected the work and style of these artists.

Ghatfan Ghannoum talks about the revolution’s effect on art, saying that “Syria’s bitter reality created many different talents and affected artistic mechanisms. Some artwork reached the world [..] - a major step toward understanding the important role of art as a way of expressing the revolution in its moral and noble character.”

Saad Hajo said that the Syrian revolution “gave him great positive energy that motivated him to work more.” He added that the revolution “changed the traditional Syrian caricature. It became more direct. It was also regenerated by the symbols and figures that appeared during the revolution, where satire and criticism reached their highest levels.”

The humanitarian and political atmosphere of Syria since the revolution has created new experiences for Syrian artists across diverging domains. Some, such as Jamal Suleiman of the Cairo Platform (headed by Firas al-Khaldy), have become major political activists opposing Assad. Suleiman now negotiates with the government in Geneva talks as Deputy Head of the High Negotiation Committee (a group which arose from the Riyadh 2 Conference). Being a politician does not prevent Suleiman from performing in several shows in Egypt such as the Future Weak Point, Babydoll Nights and Our Master Sayyed.

Actress Yara Sabri has living the U.A.E. for several years and has devoted much of her efforts on Syrian detainees in government prisons. She researches and gathers information on detainees, as well as documenting names and establishing campaigns on Facebook such as the ‘Freedom Bus’ and ‘We Want Them All’. Sabri stopped acting between the years 2011 to 2015, until the last three years when she has participated in Faces and Places, Samarkand and Orchidia.

in August 2011, the famous cartoonist Ali Farzat was subjected to severe repeated beatings by masked people, who were suspected to be sent by the government due to his opposing stances. He left Syria afterwards and moved with his satirical cartoons from the local to the global, where his art is published in international newspapers and websites.

In addition to artists mentioned above, the past years of the revolution included a notable movement by other artists, who have been subjected to arrest because of their opposing stances. these include figures such as Zaki Quordello, May Skaff, Fares Helou, Layla Awad and Assala Nasri as well as several others.

الاخبار المتعلقة

اعداد رائد برهان | تحرير رائد برهان | ترجمة سمارة بلبول | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 28 فبراير، 2018 10:15:22 م تقرير موضوعي فن وثقافة ثقافة
التقرير السابق
المخترع الإنسان.. عدنان وحود
التقرير التالي
المرأة في ظل الثورة السورية بمحافظة درعا.. تميّز وإرادة تكسر التحديات