Collecting the metal debris left from bombings for her sculptural work, Safaa Alset talks about how she was influenced by her environment: “The sounds of the hammering copper in the hands of the Syrian craftsmen is still one of the nicest sounds... Throughout history the rhythm of these sounds has echoed life and creativity… [although] today, even while these sounds of hammering continue, I can only hear the sounds of death.”
Born in Homs, Safaa Alset (1974) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 1997. From photography to metallic sculptures, she uses a variety of media to create work which explores tragedy, death and the struggles of women.
Her first solo exhibition displayed a number of black and white paintings and sculptures that focused on the theme of tragedy. Coming from her identity as a woman, Alset depicts the struggles of women and their children. In her later works, she went on to depict these vulnerable figures in sculptures, including her notable work of a small, wiry girl wearing her mother’s over-sized shoes. Another series focused on the death of animals, exhibiting sculptures of skeletons made from beaten metal. Though they represented imaginary animals, she implicated that these pieces were made as a reminder of how close to death everyone felt.
Safaa Alset held several solo exhibitions in Damascus and Manama, in addition to her participation in group workshops.