Salam Hamed is a fine artist who views her art as a way of connecting Syria to the outside world. Currently the studio she created for herself inside Syria resides in a room that was damaged by the bombs of Assad and his ally Putin.
I recently asked her where the idea of reflecting the roles of Syrian women in public affairs in the drawings she has created on the walls of houses and streets in northern Syria came from. Her response was that art is the universal language of all people, regardless of gender, race or religion.
“My practice of wall art aims at direct contact with the outside world, without barriers or restrictions, in order to draw attention through these drawings to what is happening in my country,” she said.
When asked about the significance of turning a room in a Syrian house that had been bombed with all kinds of weapons into an art studio, Hamed said: “Yes indeed; I set up my studio in northern Syria in the middle of a completely destroyed neighborhood in the city of Jisr al-Shughour, after it was targeted by the Assad regime with aircraft and various types of weapons.
“I chose this very bombed room and made it my studio in the midst of this destruction to tell the world that our destroyed homes and rooms were once bustling with life, love, dreams and goals. We are a people who love peace and life despite everything we’re going through.”
Hamed also spoke about the exhibitions she has been able to hold that have served to increase international awareness of the plight of Syrians.
“I held an exhibition in 2020 called “The Story of a Homeland” in the stricken city of Jisr al-Shughour in the western countryside of the Idlib Governorate. The exhibition included panels that tell the painful stories of Syrians, detainees, and those forcibly disappeared into prisons; it tells about hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced people from their areas in Syria. I also had paintings that monitor the suffering of children in orphanhood, homelessness, and displacement — and their dreams for a promising future in a democratic country that secures opportunities and a decent life for them,” said Hamed.
“Some of the paintings were documentation of the Assad regime’s massacres of man and antiquities, and the transformation of the country into a scorched land,” she added. “The exhibition was a great success and we received lots of encouragement and interaction because it carried the messages of the grieving Syrian people.”
Hamed was also able to participate in an exhibition in 2021 that was held at the University of Toronto in Italy through her painting entitled “Escape from Death to the Unknown.” It was one of the winning paintings.
When asked if she was planning any projects for empowering children living in northern Syria that would enable them to express the hidden emotions and inner talents that have been waiting for a chance to surface, Hamed said: “In 2021, I established the Peace Training Center and Capacity Building; it targets children and youth in the city of Jisr al-Shughour. In the future, I aspire to generalize these centers to include all areas outside the control of the Assad regime.”
To visit Salam’s Facebook account for more paintings and activities, please click here.