To those of you who have known me over the years, or are familiar with my work, you know I typically steer clear of politics. Newspapers and the media tend to depress and/or disappoint me, but lately it’s gotten more extreme: now I see my own last name in print daily. With the Syrian Uprising growing ever more complicated and prominent in the news, I am confronted daily by headlines that stir something deep in my heart and consciousness as a human being. And though my own family roots trace no relations to the Assad regime of the Ba’ath Party, it’s hard to turn my head the other way when I can feel the conflict in my core. My father was born in the U.S., but his father emigrated from Syria at the age of 16. No one in our family has ever been back, and I seem to be the only one interested in visiting my ethnic beginnings. Now I wonder when that will be possible.
New York Times contributors, Kareem Fahim and Alan Cowell, report today in front-page news that, ”Human rights groups have asserted that civilians are being increasingly caught in combat. Amnesty International said Wednesday that Syrian government forces had carried out indiscriminate air attacks and artillery strikes, apparently intended to punish civilians perceived as sympathetic to the rebels.” (Sept. 20, 2012).
President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign against the insurgency has become increasingly violent and is affecting many border areas and international relationships. One of the most painful aspects, from this writer’s standpoint, is watching my people kill their own citizens. War is difficult enough to understand, but civil war strikes me as horrifying on another level. Neither is excusable, and I can only hope and pray that this appalling conflict can soon be resolved.
These works I made in response to my feelings of anger, helplessness and dwindling hope. Perhaps their quiet beauty, their ordinary forms acting as subconscious symbols, will draw in the viewer for a closer look at what’s happening.
IMAGE 1) Title: “Hit and Run“, 2012. Stoneware, underglaze, glaze. 22″ x 18″ x 13″
IMAGE 3) “Denial“, 2012. Stoneware, underglaze, glaze. 14″ x 13″ x 13″