Syrian Man Turns Artillery into Art

 

Turning artillery into art. That is the work of Douma-based artist Akram Abu al-Fawz, who collects missile and rocket shells and transforms them into a wide array of art objects and ornaments.

Abu al-Fawz, known in his community as Mohammad Douma, has been forced to move from house to house after his home was burned by Syrian regime troops. The 35-year-old father of three believes that his work is no less important that the battles on the ground. “Weapons will not be enough to get rid of the slavery we have lived in”, he explained in an interview with SyriaUntold. “We also need art, culture and civilization to weave our freedom.”

The city of Douma, located in the outskirts of Damascus, has become one of the most punished, yet resilient areas since the beginning of the popular uprising. First home to large peaceful demonstrations and gradually turned into an open war zone, it is also known for its restless artistic and creative contributions. Just like Abu Ali al-Bitar, who managed to create stoves, motorcycles, medical supplies and music instruments from rockets and bullet casings, Abu al-Fawz makes life from death.  

A girl sits on a rocket shell decorate by Abu al-Fawz. Source: the artist's facebook page
A girl sits on a rocket shell decorate by Abu al-Fawz. Source: the artist's facebook page
A girl sits on a rocket shell decorate by Abu al-Fawz. Source: the artist's facebook page

Traditional arabesques are present in the work of the artist, who colors mortar and bullet shells and turns them into beautiful ornaments. The result is a combination of traditional Syrian traditional art and the renewed spirit of freedom and resilience that took Syrians to the streets in Douma, and throughout the country.  

The objects are not just ornaments, but they are used by children to play, after they are decorated. According to Abu al-Fawz, these customized tools are proof of the difference between the regime and the rebels who rose against it. They resisted the regime once, and they resist it again by transforming its weapons of destruction into life. 

Abu al-Fawz continues to face huge difficulties to pursue his task, from displacement to the lack of necessary tools. He believes the effort is worth it, in the hope that these artifacts will “one day bear witness to the crimes against humanity committed in Syria. 

Abu al-Fawz working on a rocket shell. Source: the artist's facebook page
Abu al-Fawz working on a rocket shell. Source: the artist's facebook page
Abu al-Fawz working on a rocket shell. Source: the artist's facebook page

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