Our fifth issue kicks off the first in a series of country-focused snapshots of Syrian artistic practice around the world. What are Syrian artists are doing now? What are they working on, what are their challenges, and how have the past eight years impacted their work?
We start with Berlin. While not one of the traditional art hubs for Middle Eastern students, like Egypt, Italy or France, Germany has been home to generations of Syrian artists, never more famously than the late great Marwan.
In his short essay, ‘Germany: The Accidental Route’, Boutros Al Maari charts the evolution of the relationship between Germany and Syrian artists – both as a historical destination as well as its recent role in providing asylum.
“Everybody expects you to use the narratives of war and asylum seeking,” says Yasser Safi as part of a Q&A studio visit with Ali Kaaf. Both artists speak about their experiences moving to and working in Berlin. Meanwhile, our Long Read looks at Germany through the lens of multimedia artists Fadi Hamwi and Manaf Halbouni, based in Berlin and Dresden respectively.
We also interview Berlin-based Hiba Alansari and Alina Amer on their recent participation in the show Personal Revolutions; and what Ansari describes as “the transparent thread” that connects artists like them with their counterparts in Berlin and, indeed, around the world.
Plus, we spotlight the deeply intimate works of Nasser Hussein, and feature a personal essay by Tammam Azzam,who shares his thoughts on how easily Syrian artists can be defined as ‘political artists’ for parsing the events taking place in their homeland in their work.
We also have an open call for essays on the history of Syrian artists for our next location - we’ll give you a hint: think the City of Light!
Enough from us - happy reading!