My visit to Syria in 2011 left abiding memories. Wonderful people and Syria’s exceptionally rich cultural heritage left me with strong positive impressions even though the civil war was beginning. Now my Syrian friends are scattered abroad. We stay in touch especially one particular family, whom Germany welcomed.
I have never made art work about Syria: this seems impertinent with the war so bleak. Nevertheless I was pleased when the curator Asmaa Alanbari invited me to participate in Thread of Light at the P21 Gallery, London. This presented an opportunity to offer a reminder that peoples and cultures can connect rather than oppose. We need to hold onto threads of light in a world darkened by prejudice and divisions.
is an assemblage of naïve ‘snaps’ originally taken as personal mementos, not for exhibition. Nevertheless, such every day, dead pan images subtly convey that which has been lost. Images of Syria 2011 have been interwoven with images recently taken in Europe. The fine lion statue outside the Damascus museum, the great Pergamon museum Berlin; the interconnectedness of cultures and peoples. A Kebab shop in Europe where a friend now works; his daughter’s name on the window to remind him of why he keeps going despite long hours and low pay. Recently Syrian friends and I saw the magnificent reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate (c. 575 BCE) in Berlin with hundreds of visitors from all the world. It originates from Mesopotamia, now modern Syria and Iraq. Webs of connections, before our eyes.