Mohamad Hafez Damascene Athan Series 2018 – Mixed media (plaster, paint, found objects)
Damascene Athan emerges from recordings I made during my last visit to Damascus in 2011, on the eve of the Syrian War. I integrated those final few moments of peace into the decorative mirror frames whichremind me of the plush Victorian interiors we had to leave behind. The daily calls to prayer from the Great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus can be heard in the background, and Islamic calligraphic graffiti decorates
In 2011, although life seemed very peaceful at the time, one could not help but feel a greater danger looming over Damascus, fuelled by the Arab Spring momentum and the demonstrations that had already started in southern Syria. The heavy presence of security forces and “police” trucks signalled to me, a larger preparation for what was to come next. The Toyota truck included in the work is a vehicle notoriously used by Syrian secret service. Having this vehicle parked outside anyone’s house meant bad news. While flowers and jasmine ivy continued to peacefully grow on our architecture, so did fear and stress depicted in surveillance cameras. The contrast between what I recorded and what I witnessed reveals the complexity of what one experiences at the cusp of a vicious war in their homeland.
Stuck in nostalgia, and heeling from war atrocities, Syrians across the globe struggle to comprehend all that had happened. When we look in a mirror, we no longer see ourselves… we see all of that emotional baggage present.
- 1000 × 1497
- April 2, 2017