Tag Archives: Syrian

Dresden: ‘Monument’ to Aleppo sparks emotional debate

Monument - Dresden

A Syrian war memorial is currently dividing Dresden, itself a symbol of the ravages of war.
‘Monument’, featuring three buses standing upright, was erected in February 2017 next to the famous baroque Frauenkirche, which was initially devastated by Allied bombs in 1945 and then rebuilt brick by brick after the German unification, becoming a symbol of peace and reconciliation.

Manaf Halbouni, a Syrian-born artist with German roots, was inspired by a powerful image that was seen worldwide in 2015: Residents of Aleppo put bombed-out buses on their sides in the heart of the formerly thriving industrial city to protect themselves from sharpshooters. The buses became a symbol of the resistance movement in the town which, by the end of 2016, had been nearly totally destroyed by war.

In Dresden, the sculpture is comprised of three outdated public buses. The artist said he intentionally used buses that had not been wrecked, as a symbol of the peace that can still be found in Germany – unlike in Syria.

Designed to draw attention to the Syrian war while appealing for peace and humanity, the art installation has sparked an emotional debate in the city. Halbouni’s work was installed to coincide with the 72nd anniversary of the Allied raids that devastated the city. The bombings by British and American warplanes on a militarily insignificant city remain the source of resentment, and far-right groups tried to use the annual memorial to push a revisionist view of history that Dresden was a victim of an Allied war crime.

Curator of Kunsthaus Dresden Mennicke-Schwarz added: “It’s thought-provoking and that’s what we wanted: to connect the terrible suffering of the war in Syria to Dresden, to connect the commemoration of the victims of the past with those of the present. It seemed so appropriate to give us a small insight into how civilians are trying to get by at the moment in Syrian cities.”

On display in the city through April 3, the installation was funded through donations from the local community. The artist said he found it important to show that there is a side to Dresden which stands in contrast to the anti-foreigner movement that has become associated with the city.

Monument - Dresden
Monument - DresdenMonument - DresdenMonument - DresdenMonument - Dresden
Monument - Dresden


Toulouse : Creve Hivernale Exhibition @ Frigo

Creve Hivernale - Toulouse

Initially planned for 4-5-6 December, an exhibition called ‘CREVE HIVERNALE / COPS31 / MARKER V’ in Toulouse has been extended to 11-12 -13 December with a grand finale on 30 December in support of La Cimade (not for profit organisation helping refugees and homeless people).

Located in the ‘Frigo’, 378, route de Launaguet, the show explores notions of homelessness and the Syrian migrant crisis that has been affecting Europe. The exhibition features a series of live performances, murals, photos, testimonies, dialogue between habitants, in-habitants, the visible and in-visible, installations and interventions.

Participating artists include anonymous artivist < + + , Fred Calmets,A4Putevie, photographer Balint Pörneczi, screenprints and Tshirts by Cleangraphics and more…

Creve Hivernale - Toulouse
Creve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - Toulouse

To dissolve the incessant influx of refugees in the Calais’ Jungle, French government has been dispatching migrants via private jets to various CRA (retention centers) in France, Toulouse being the largest one (see here).

#CREVE HIVERNALE plays on the term ‘Treve hivernale’ which indicates the temporary period during which housing expulsion notices are suspended in the cold months of winter. ‘Creve’ also means ‘to have a cold’ and /or ‘die’.

Photographer Balint Pörneczi, winner of the Zoom 2015 prize at the Salon de la Photo in Paris, has been accompanying and documenting migrants through their journey in Europe.

Upon entering this massive industrial freezing warehouse nicknamed ‘Le Frigo’, we are faced with a series of photos in the outskirts of Toulouse and La Rocade depicting the precarious living conditions of the Syrian migrants. This aims to create a dialogue and wake up call with locals as they recognise the areas and drive past oblivious on a daily basis.

Creve Hivernale - Toulouse
Creve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - ToulouseCreve Hivernale - Toulouse

In the main space large black and white portraits pay tribute to migrant families and their difficult journey through the Hungarian borders to get to a safer place.

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Toulousan artist A4Putevie created an immersive experience with a large scale mural with rainbow coloured fighter jets and temporary shelters. Sleeping or frightened figures are appearing ghostly, cut out in mattresses,while being overlooked by an observation tower.  Nearby stands a children treehouse, symbol of safe heaven, looking very fragile and on the brick of collapsing. Inscriptions on the wall reveals messages about surveillance, losing freedom rights, and an increased fear and manipulation of the mind.

#‎MATELAS / Mattress Piece of furniture used by people to lie down, element of comfort, often linked to a bed. Comes from the arab word ‘matrah’ .

#‎CABANE / HUT, seasonal housing construction serving as temporary shelter.

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Anonymous artist and long time activist <++ pays tribute to the less fortunate with his infamous series of hanging visible /invisible totem figures, from camouflage to  reflecting versions. Like a scene after a war explosion, layers of feathers (symbol of peace), broken mirrors (distorted reality), dirt, and faded tulips are juxtaposed on mattresses, surrounded by candles.

The use of #‎TULIPE represents capitalism speculation and over consumerism, in reference to the Tulip mania 

Creve Hivernale - ToulouseCreve Hivernale - Toulouse

In parallel to the installations, <++ did a couple a live painting performances and created a cabane for people to discuss, share experiences and enjoy some tea.
Creve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - Toulouse
Creve Hivernale - ToulouseCreve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - Toulouse Creve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - Toulouse
Creve Hivernale - Toulouse

A mural by Fred Calmet & Kegrea shows an upside down bird surrounded by men with protective clothes and masks.
Further down an installation using found objects recreate a raft, depicting the fragility of the current situation.

Creve Hivernale - ToulouseCreve Hivernale - ToulouseCreve Hivernale - Toulouse    Creve Hivernale - Toulouse

View the full set of pics here

From 15:00 to 00:00
Le Frigo, 378, route de Launaguet – 31140 Launaguet,
next to Toulouse