Thursday, 1 September 2016
Painting the revolution in Daraya
'Over the past three years, Abu Malek al-Shami’s canvas has been the besieged rebel city of Daraya. Splashed across the fields of destruction, a cityscape laid waste by four years of relentless bombing, are 32 of his murals. They crop up randomly, like wildflowers, adorning the ruins of what once were homes, schools and hospitals.
It was back in January 2013 that Shami left his home and struck out from the city towards the sounds of shelling that had rolled like thunder over the hills from Daraya since the FSA took up positions there a few months earlier. As part of a large family of political activists, Shami had begun marching in demonstrations in Damascus two years earlier, while still a high school student. But t
The murals span a range of political topics, invoking the hopes, fears, and dark humour born of years living under siege. Strategically angled so as to be seen from both “above and below”, the work is directed at the people of Daraya but also the world beyond its walls. Motivated by a deep commitment to the principles of democratic governance and pluralism that launched the Syrian uprising of March 2011, his work has stood as evidence of Daraya’s resistance while also being a cry for help.