Since the eruption of the brutal civil war in Syria just five years ago, there has been a niche group of phenomenal graphic artists using their creative gifts to wage their own war against a broken system. Many of these artists have created powerful and unsettling images, which are becoming viral across the world.
While political art and propaganda are statement pieces widely known in the U.S. and even Europe, it has been at the forefront of the Syrian uprising from the day 15-year-old Bashir Abazid and his friends painted several walls of his hometown of Daraa with revolutionary slogans like, “The people want the fall of the regime” and “Your turn is coming, doctor” (in reference to President Bashar al-Assad, once a practicing ophthalmologist).
Naturally, these street artist kids making public statements that would shock the nation paid the price by being detained and tortured for more than a month; the news spread through the country like wildfire and is now considered one of the main events to spark the Syrian uprising.
Fares Cachoux “Al Houla” Depicting the Houla massacre, when government forces killed 108 people, including 49 children.
To the dismay of the Syrian regime, this act only fueled more artists to take a stance—not only on the streets—but online with digital media. Kismet Collective turned its focus on two striking artists: Sedki Alimam, who began publishing posters that became a tool to express the overlooked reality on the ground, and Fares Cachoux, a graphic designer from Homs, who has also been dubbed the “Designer of The Revolution” for depicting the timeline of Syria’s civil uprising into a bloody civil war.
“I am with the Syrian Revolution, and anyone who sees my work can easily tell. However, I am against considering the involvement of foreign parties as a solution to the Syrian regime.”—Sedki Alimam
In Sedki’s recent project titled Kingdom of Hyenas, he replaces the heads of leaders on all warring sides with vicious-looking animals.
“It shows all fighting factions as monstrous creatures, mercilessly killing innocents, and stealing everything they lay their hands on. In today’s Syria, human concepts such as morality, justice, and dignity are unheard of.”— Sediki Alimam
Sedki Alimam, “Kingdom of Hyenas”
Shifting to Fares Cachoux, and his striking artworks that capture everything from the Syrian government’s crackdown on activists and the Houla massacre to the rise of Jabhat al-Nusra, and ISIS and the Russian government’s support of Assad. He believes visual arts play a vital role in sending a message to the world using the universal language of image. “You don’t need to be a Syrian or an expert on Syria in order to understand a simple poster,” he states.
Fares Cachoux,“Daesh” A poster designed following ISIS’s self-declared caliphate.
“What we are witnessing today is a reinforcement of the image. We live in a society of pictures, of videos, of screens.”— Fares Cachoux
Fares Cachoux, “Hamza Is Prettier Than You” In memory of Hamza Bakkour, a 13-year-old boy who died after an injury to the throat
“The role of Syrian artists is, and will be, telling the story of the Syrian Revolution. Today, and years after the war is over, we will see hundreds and thousands of artworks, each showing the conflict in its own way. From Daraa’s children [in 2011], to the final solution to the crisis, we will see a very clear timeline consisting of works of art.”—Fares Cachoux
For Cachoux, even when the war has ended, the artists of Syria will play a vital role in the years after the war. was living abroad when the Syrian uprising began. He was unable to concentrate on his work after hearing his hometown had been bombed so he quit his job to dedicate his time and talent to telling his countries story.
*This art, and moreover the unfortunate war-fueled inspiration they’re derived from, will forever be a testament to the resiliences of the Syrian people who are fighting for political and artistic freedom. They can never be silenced and these images can never be unseen. And there’s power in that.