VIDEO: The Syrian painter turning bombs into art

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Painting on the remnants of war, Akram Abo Alfoz brings bombs and bullets back to life

"These shells were embossed with the blood of innocents before I was able to bring them back to life one more time." (Painting On Death/Facebook)
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Friday 30 December 2016 11:07 UTC
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Akram Abo Alfoz, 38, from rebel-held Douma, turns weapons of war into art.

Collecting the bombs and bullets that litter the shell-ridden streets of his besieged hometown, Alfoz disarms the lethal debris of Syria's almost six-year-old civil war, before sculpting the remains with patterns and designs inspired by his Levantine cultural heritage. Alfoz believes that waging an artistic and cultural resistance is no less important than the battles on the ground.

Speaking to Middle East Eye, the artist spoke about the inspiration behind his paintings: "I wanted to make a piece of work that serves as a testimony for this era so that I never forget the crimes of [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad."

"[This artwork] serves as a message of hope, steadfastness and struggle at the same time. And as a reminder to those who can see us, yet are standing silently," he lamented. 



“Painting on these tools of death helps take away the fear in the eyes of my children." (Painting On Death/Facebook)


For the father-of-three, drawing on unexploded shells also tells a personal tale of raising children under siege in Syria. “Painting on these tools of death helps take away the fear in the eyes of my children who never leave me during the painting process from the beginning until the end." 

Asked if he had a message to the world, Alfoz said: "We are people that love life and struggle for it to live with dignity. The Syrian government calls us terrorists but we are not. We have to defend our land with our thought and our culture."

In eastern Ghouta where Alfoz lives in the besieged city of Douma, some 282,500 people remain besieged by pro-Assad forces, according to the United Nations.