Syrian Icons

Portrait-video of the Syrian art scene

ΑΙΝ non-profit association (Paris, Damascus)

A project by Delphine Leccas and Rami Farah for Roaming Images

When the initial idea to organize a filmed debate seemed totally inappropriate due to the current situation, the project to create a virtual meeting came to my mind. The question was: How to invite people involved in the art scene and considered as Syrian contemporary icons (curators, academics, artists and art dealers) to speak on the same topic during a given period of time? We asked the five people selected to be filmed contemplating the idea of image and its relation to the cultural heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Arabic world. By connecting the past with the present, addressing orientalist stereotypes, Western influences and the idea of iconoclasm through Syrian art history, the video project aspires to be a representation of the contemporary Syrian situation; a monologue to show that the role of the artist in society is more important than ever.
Presented as a classical portrait exhibition (vertical, flat representation, faces integrated in the background), “Syrian Icons” aims to demonstrate the irony of new technology and media in our contemporary society which, whilst functioning as an essential link with others, can be a solitary platform of communication. More than ever, image remains the easier way to communicate but the inserted subtitles highlight the essential fact that we have to learn how to read a picture.
This work is also an echo of the exhibition of young Syrian artists presented during the XV Biennale de la Méditerranée tackling the question of the self portrait.

Concept and artistic direction: Delphine Leccas

Realization: Rami Farah

Participants: Rami Farah (video artist and film maker), Mouna Atassi (Atassi Gallery manager), Fassih Keiso (visual artist and university professor), Elias Zayat (visual artist and university professor), Youssef Abdelke (visual artist, art critic, art writer and caricaturist), Zena Takieddine (art writer and researcher specialized in Islamic art and Modern Arab Art)