Tammam Azzam (36) is from the younger generation of Syrian artists and lives in exile in Dubai.
Azzam has come to prominence for his art that address the destruction and suffering of the Syrian populace in the face of the tragedies and devastations caused by conflict, as well as the apathy of the international community.
In his words: ‘I’m an artist that’s doing artwork with a political background because of the situation, because I’m Syrian so I have to be involved in what’s happening in my country.’ He adds that he is not a soldier, he doesn’t care about the regime, nor is he fighting against the regime. ‘I’m fighting to support people so this is the difference for me.’
With digital technology, he has created the series The Syrian Museum, which juxtaposes Western masterpieces by the likes of Goya, Picasso, Da Vinci, with images of contemporary Syria and its desolate, defaced cityscapes. By combining images of some of the greatest achievements of mankind with humanity’s self-inflicted suffering and capacity for destruction, the artist highlights the absurdity of this dualism and the atrocity of war. Early in 2013, one of his works from the series went viral on the internet. Entitled ‘Freedom Graffiti’, the image features Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ overlaid as a mural on a bombed, bullet-torn building in Syria.