Damascus December 2008

Damascus December 2008 with Syrian artist Hadi Toron Parts of Damascus, known as Al Sham (the north) to its inhabitants, have changed drastically in Hadi Toron’s 40 years absence. The massive population growth that occurred has transformed the physiognomy of Damascus from an unhurried place to a frenetic, spread out metropolis. Yet, some areas have remained largely untouched by modern life. This is particularly discernible in Old Damascus where commerce, socialising and worship are energetically conducted in the same wayRead more

Behind the Smile

Syrian artist Fadi Yazigi’s devilish smiling faces portray his uncanny perceptions of how ordinary people feel. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Old Damascus is the studio of Fadi Yazigi. As I step inside, dozens of strange-looking creatures with small deformed bodies and huge smiling faces leap out at me from an unfinished canvas painting. Painted in black ink on a rainbow-coloured background, the creatures look like they are floating in space or dancing to a slow rhythm. GazingRead more

Dark and Light Sleeper

The floor of Safwan Dahoul’s Sheikh Zayed Road studio is littered with cans of industrial paint. Plastic plates double as palettes, and the brushes, the kind that you can buy from any hardware store, lay waiting to be picked up by their owner. “I prefer to use these ‘poor’ paints,” says Dahoul, explaining the lack of specific artistic materials in his studio. “These paints are more generous. They remind me of the kind of people you meet in your lifeRead more