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Paintings and Prints of Syria

by Soulaf (Soully) Abas


Why We Must Struggle
Kay Ryan

If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense
the shape of our losses
or know what sustains
us longest or name
what change costs us
saying how strange
it is that one sector
of the self can step in
for another in trouble
how loss activates
a latent double how
we can feed
as upon nectar
upon need?

About Soulaf "Soully" Abas:

I was born and raised in Damascus, Syria.

In 2008, I received my bachelor's in Fine Arts from Indiana State University. Then, I returned to Syria and taught art at the Arab European University. I also spent some time translating books and articles.

In 2010, I returned to Indiana State University to get my master's in Fine Arts. 

I went back to visit my family in Damascus-Syria in the summer of 2012, a year after the revolution began. To my great surprise, I found that what used to be my playground had been reduced to a pile of rubble, with bloodstains everywhere. The visit completely changed my perspective and my sense of what home means.

Upon my return from Syria, I started creating images in painting and printmaking that depicted what I experienced. For the first time in years, my subject and my process were working together in such harmony that I finally began to understand how far painting can be pushed in terms of process and concept, and how healing it can be.

Casualties become trivial numbers during times of war, and neighborhoods become insignificant remains. My "Syria" work honors those who have lost everything to war, but still smile in spite of that loss. It is dedicated to those who still give, though everything was taken away from them, and to those who love, no matter what.

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