Essma Imady, Pillar of Salt (2018). A Child’s Weight in Salt, Backpack. Courtesy of artist.
View Gallery 7 Photos

By Sueraya Shaheen

Curated by New York-based writer and researcher, Maymanah Farhat, the exhibition’s 14 featured artists reflect on the widescale destruction of the country and the plight of its displaced through painting, multimedia, photography, video and installation. In the process, their work helps shape our understanding of the conflict, from the peaceful start of the revolution to the resulting humanitarian crisis.

In This Moonless Black Night marks the tenth anniversary of the Syrian uprising by showcasing artists who have been at the forefront of chronicling the hope, conflict and trauma of the past decade through their practice.

In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, Exhibition view. Photo by Sueraya Shaheen
In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, Exhibition view. Photo by Sueraya Shaheen

During this period, Syrian artists have brought awareness to the widescale destruction of the country and the plight of its displaced while also reflecting on the peaceful nature of the protests that marked the start of the uprisings.

Whether they remained in the country or went into exile, Syrian artists have experimented with diverse imagery and media to convey the magnitude and complexity of this period. In doing so, they have taken a long and rich history of art in new directions that were unforeseeable before the start of the uprising.

In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, Exhibition view. Photo by Sueraya Shaheen
In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, Exhibition view. Photo by Sueraya Shaheen

The title of the exhibition is adapted from a poem by the late Syrian poet Da’ad Haddad (1937-1991), who is known for subversive imagery that often reflects melancholy and alienation. The poem oscillates between abject despair and glimmers of hope, much like the works in this exhibition, which find renewal in expression and provoke much needed conversations that go beyond Syria and its diaspora to reach a broader audience.

Featured artists: Azza Abo Rebieh, Hiba Al Ansari, Ammar al-Beik, Nour Asalia, Tammam Azzam, Khaled Barakeh, Bady Dalloul, Oroubah Dieb, Osama Esid, Lara Haddad, Mohamad Hafez, Nagham Hodaifa, Essma Imady, Kevork Mourad.

Portrait of Maymanah Farhat, writer, researcher and the curator of In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising. Courtesy of Sueraya Shaheen.
Portrait of Maymanah Farhat, writer, researcher and the curator of In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising. Courtesy of Sueraya Shaheen.

The exhibition is on view until the 20th of August at the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC

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