Inspired by his rural village in Syria, Kurdish artist Azad Heme paints cockfighting – a sport where people make roosters fight to the death for entertainment and money. An especially poignant subject when considered in the context of the war in Syria, he uses the theme symbolically over and over to show the relentlessness of the violence. “It's about confrontation,” he says. “There is no such thing as good and bad, there is conflict and constant confrontation.”

Born in Qamishli, Azad Heme (1979) studied at the Adham Ismail Center of Fine Arts. Trained to draw and paint in traditional techniques, he captures moments in time with a graceful precision. He depicts the elegance of the animals, in natural colours, captured just moments before their impending doom. The result is images that emerge vividly on canvas or paper, full of dynamic violence. 

Heme has participated in exhibitions and workshops throughout Syria, Iraq, Turkey, the UAE, Yemen and more recently in Germany and France at venues such as the Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris. His work is housed in collections in the Middle East, Europe and North America.