The development of art under the Syrian Revolution

اعداد هبة دباس | تحرير هبة دباس | ترجمة محمد غيث | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 4 أبريل، 2018 8:21:17 م تقرير موضوعي اجتماعيفن وثقافة ثقافة

Various forms of art have kept abreast with the Syrian Revolution since its beginning in 2011. New forms and talents have emerged even to better formulate new expressions of freedom and justice in Syria. However, art still suffers from a lack of resources and financial support.

Demonstrations, songs and rap art

When demonstrations broke out in Syria, protesters first chanted their demands, mixing them with rhyming slang as well as urban and traditional melodies. Later protesters attempted modest compositions of revolutionary songs, which have now become popular all over Syria despite their relatively simple lyricality. Ibrahim al-Qashous and Abulbasit al-Sarout became prominent chanters, and the likes of Samih Shuqair, Wasfi al-Ma’sarani, Abtal Moscous al-Aqeewa band ('Strong Heroes of Moscow'), and Ayam al-Huriya ('Days of Freedom') became composers and singers.

Syrian rap has formed a remarkable niche under the revolution, through its ability to aptly express suffering, address critical social issues, and provide sharp political commentaries. Rap artists who began producing after the Arab Spring spoke about the overthrow of autocratic governments and the restrictions on freedom of expression, thereby providing commentaries on issues that defined the essence of rap. Under the Syrian Revolution, rap art has addressed political issues such as corruption and the toppling of the Syrian government, and is dinstinct for its clear and strong melodies. However, lack of financial support has meant this art has suffered from a stark lack of professionalism. Among the most prominent Syrian rap artists, Omar Offendum, has produced wide-spread revolutionary songs in Arabic and English in the U.S. Also to do this have been MC GanDi and Brander Haso.

Drama, Series, and Documentaries:

During the Syrian Revolution, performative arts have been limited to “interactive drama” which usually involves improv as well as often light, humorous and generally playful entertainment.
Interactive drama normally begins with a simple idea, a scene is then developed, and the piece often concludes with a game. More so than being interested in professionalism or profound ideas, the craft seeks to address children simply, by entertaining and supporting them psychologically.

Civili society groups became actively engaged with the drama, attracting artists who supported the Syrian Revolution since its inception. These include artist and director Nawar Bulbul, who performed the play “Shakespeare in al-Za’tari camp” along with the refugee children of al-Za’tari camp, in Jordan.

Television series, which had a laudable reputation in Syria, have struggled to find the same success under the Syrian Revolution. Despite featuring prominent actors, writers and directors, these television series have been largely unsuccessful. Critics have attributed these failures to weak scripts, unfamiliar scenarios, the opting of sparse visual effects in preference for audio, and the decline in financial support. The production costs for “A President and a Woman” series by the Syrian writer Foad Hamera, were a meagre 25,000 USD. Thus whilst the filming was carried out in Turkey and the series starred the Syrian actress Mai Skaff, the final output was of poor quality and production. The series parallels other series filmed outside of the Syrian government’s control, which usually budget at around 100,000 USD.

Wujuh wa Amakin ('Faces and Places') and Moni’a fi Suriya ('Forbidden in Syria') are two series addressing the Syrian Revolution and transforming its ideas. Critics consider that the financing, production bias, depiction of violence and extremist fighting, as well as it's widespread dubbing as “haram”, are most exemplary of the problems which television and series production during the revolution suffer from. Consequently, this justifies the poor quality of the artwork.

On the other hand, the documentaries that are addressing certain aspects of the Syrian Revolution have received unprecedented success and interest despite weak financial support and inexperienced staff. Different documentaries have won global awards and were nominated for the Oscars and Grammies, to mention a couple. The most prominent of these documentaries has been Akhir ar-Rijal fi Halap ('Last Man in Aleppo'), which is a virtual reality drama. There is also a film under the same name which has been nominated for an Oscar recently.  

Fine Art, Caricature, and Graffiti

Syrian Art is no longer limited to Baathist boundaries and so fine artists from the opposition see this as a new phase for art under the revolution. A fine artist can record what is happening in Syria using their own methods, and away from the limits of “committed art” imposed by Assad’s government.

Fine artists (formerly and currently oppositionists) like Yusuf Abd Laki (who the Syrian government arrested in 2013), Muhammad Omran, Amjad Wardeh, Miryam Salameh, Laila al-’udai, and Reem Yasuf, held exhibitions in Arab and European countries. The exhibitions addressed subjects and issues that are related to the Syrian Revolution, and reflected the fact of war in Syria. Most fine artists consider that social media, such as Facebook, has encouraged and contributed to the spread of fine art in the revolution more than the hosting of exhibitions has done. This is because audiences and oppositionist artists are able to directly interact with the posted art works. The “Art and Freedom”  Facebook page is one of the most prominent forums for art on social media.

Akin to fine art, the art of political, satirical, and critical caricature has been popular amongst Syrians. The most prominent Syrian caricaturists are Ali Farzat, whom Assad’s Shabiha (a notorious loyalist militia) assaulted frequently, and Akram Raslan, who was killed under torture in Assad’s prisons.  

As the Syrian Revolution created a space for creativity and freedom of expression, new types of art emerged on the Syrian landscape, such as graffiti (drawing on walls) the most prominent of which is Binnish Graffiti, professional photography, and “drawing on death”. “Drawing on death” is the art of fontmaking and Arabic decoration on the remnants of rockets and missiles. One of the most prominent artists in this field is Akram Abu al-Fuz, who resides in the city of Douma, Rif Dimashq. Abu- al-Fuz created a mould of the Russian Kremlin from remnants of missiles and rockets. Different European countries have hosted exhibitions of Abu al-Fuz’s works.  

Art critics, social media users, audiences, and art amateurs consider the different types of art which are sponsored by the Syrian government as biased, morally deteriorated, promoting values and ethics that contravene with the Syrian community, and as misrepresenting the truth. This is because such art conveys incidents from the Syrian government’s point of view, in a way that is incompatible with art’s ultimate mission, which is to convey reality as it is. Others consider the art of the Syrian Revolution, and what it attempts to represent, despite its poor possibilities, as seeking “to convey a balanced image of the reality of the Syrian situation, but this art has not met that expected level and has not played its role yet.”

الاخبار المتعلقة

اعداد هبة دباس | تحرير هبة دباس | ترجمة محمد غيث | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 4 أبريل، 2018 8:21:17 م تقرير موضوعي اجتماعيفن وثقافة ثقافة
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