Aziz Asmar is a Syrian painter who drawns on ruined walls to depict the suffering of his people during the civil conflict in Syria.
In the town of Binnish, which is located northeast of the city of Idlib, in northwestern Syria, Aziz Asmar paints colourful murals on walls, depicting life in Opposition-held areas of Syria.
His works have been recognised in the town and the wider Idlib Province of being simultaneously colourful yet sombre due to the images that he draws.
Inspired by real-life events of displaced, death and conflict, Aziz’s paintings depict real people and the suffering they have endured.
“I paint specifically on the ruined walls. I chose them because ruined walls express themselves and convey the message more sincerely,” said Aziz. “We are people who interact with all the issues of the world, and we feel the suffering of the people so that they feel our suffering.”
Alongside ideas of the Syrian Revolution, Aziz also paints more localised features of everyday life on the walls.
“On the walls, we didn’t only draw revolutionary ideas, we drew social ideas that reflect the suffering of people in particular,” continued Aziz. “For example, our ideas reflect displacement, high prices, thefts, and even issues outside Syrian geography in order to tell people that we are not a black spot and do not live in a closed area.”
Amidst the ongoing conflict in southern Idlib, between the Syrian Regime and Opposition forces, thousands of people have been displaced. By some estimates this has amounted to over 400,000 people.
Due to the daily airstrikes that are targeting Opposition-held towns and villages in the region, some people stay away from his drawings, as they perceive them to be a target for Regime aircraft above. For Aziz, however, he is determined to continue drawing and painting on the walls, and visualising life for thousands of people in Idlib and the wider region.
“There are people who are afraid of our paintings, they think that these drawings are target signs to warplanes so we respond to their requests and stop drawing,” said Aziz. “I do not consider myself an artist, I consider myself a man suffering in this region and I can convey my pain through the destroyed walls, we will continue our duty until our last breath.”