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The National

Jaber Al Azmeh, Samih Shkeir, 2012

Printed on Cotton Rag Fine Art Archival paper

30 x 45 cm, Ed. of 3 + AP

Shot in black and white, the composition of these photographs alone is pretty stunning. But unless you speak Arabic, you have to get up close to catch the real meaning.

The Syrian photographer, Jaber Al Azmeh, has captured a wide range of people, poets, journalists, artists and actors, holding a copy of the Al Baath newspaper inverted and with their real thoughts handwritten across the top in Arabic. In neat English text, the translation has been typed underneath.

The series, which began in 2011 at the start of the uprising, is a kind of silent protest but the words somehow speak so much louder when written down.

With phrases like “Nothing will stop us. We are coming back home”, “Happiness is coming to our streets and homes,” or simply, “Freedom” it draws attention not just to the situation and how it affects every social sphere but also to the role of media and the flaws of the government mouthpieces in both TV and newspaper form.

If you ask me, Al Azmeh’s own artistic message speaks the loudest of all:

“All Syrians, no matter where they come from, what religion they have, and what they do, are working together to help this revolution, and help Syria reach its freedom.”

It is only on for a few more days so make sure you get down to see what I think is one of the most powerful shows we have had all year.

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