With Assad’s regime suppressing information sharing in Syria – and particularly anti-government sentiment – creatives have had to find alternative ways to distribute their work. In a country where school children have reportedly been tortured for writing anti-Assad graffiti on a wall in Dera’a, a city in the South, the act of making critical art is not only powerful, but dangerous. Parallel Republic: The Art of Civil Disobedience at the People’s History Museum brings a selection of works by critically acclaimed Syrian artists and citizen journalists out of the online world and into the real, displaying paintings, illustrations, film, animation and music in the museum’s Engine Hall.
The ‘parallel republic’ of the title refers to an imagined or virtual world, where Syrian artists and activists can share information and express themselves. Curated by British artist Sarah Faraday and Syrian artist Ibrahim Fakhri, based in the UK since 2004, this exhibition makes the idea of a ‘parallel republic’ manifest, highlighting the creative activism of some of the most active and acclaimed Syrian artists, collectives and citizen journalists, including Khalil Younes, Sulafa Hijazi, Lens Young Dimashqi, Comic4Syria, Art & Freedom and Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh.