“Binnish is like one big open-air art gallery. There is beauty in all this chaos. And when the residents discover a new mural, they say: ‘Ah! Aziz struck again,’” Aziz Al-Asmar in L’Orient-Le Jour.
Aziz Al-Asmar, from Binnish in northern Idlib uses art to resist the Syrian regime. Aziz was working at a publishing house in Lebanon when the revolution broke out but returned to his hometown to participate in the struggle at a time when others were trying to leave.
A locally renowned mural artist, Aziz works across Idlib, painting on canvases that frequently comprise the walls and ceilings of houses destroyed by airstrikes carried out by the Assad regime and its Russian ally. He is regularly joined by children who help in creating the artworks.
His art reminds the world of the oft forgotten suffering of Syrians in Idlib who, living under siege, face both the tyranny of the Assad regime as well as extremist groups, yet continue to stand firm in their struggle for freedom. Aziz uses his drawings to raise the spirits of those around him and inspire confidence in their cause. He often paints the revolution’s heroes. In an interview with L’Orient-Le Jour he said; “These are the drawings I prefer. It hurts, crushes my heart, but I must keep on painting the martyrs.”
Aziz’s murals are not only centred on the Syrian Revolution but regularly include messages of solidarity to struggles elsewhere in the region and beyond, those caught up in humanitarian crisis, as well as providing political commentary and satire on current events. Recently he achieved global recognition for a mural he painted together with his friend Anis Hamdoun in solidarity with protesters in the United States following the brutal murder of George Floyd by police. The mural depicted the face of George Floyd along with the message ‘No to Racism’ and ‘I can’t breathe’. His art communicates to the world that despite their desperate plight, Syrians recognize injustices and honest causes elsewhere and stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters across the globe.
Aziz knows the significance of his work, explaining that it is artwork that resonates, and if it did not then Naji Al Ali (a Palestinian cartoonist who was assassinated) would still be with us, Ali Ferzat (a Syrian cartoonist previously imprisoned by the regime) would not have been tortured, nor would the great Raed Fares (a revolutionary activist from Kafranbel, a Syrian town famous for its comic banners) have been assassinated.
Find some of his work here :