arts
Syrian artist depicts Trump and other leaders as refugees
Updated 16th June 2017
Syrian artist depicts Trump and other leaders as refugees
A Syrian artist has re-imagined US President Donald Trump and 10 other world leaders as refugees in a series of paintings currently on display in Dubai.
Abdalla Al Omari, who has refugee status in Belgium, says his own experience with displacement prompted him to create The Vulnerability Series.
"Being a refugee is like having a new lump in your body that you had nothing to do with, and it will stay until the last day, so you better deal with it," Al Omari told CNN.
"Donald," 2016 Credit: Abdalla Al Omari
In the series, President Trump is portrayed as a refugee holding a young child; his belongings and a sleeping mat on his back, a photo of his family clutched in his right hand.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad also feature. Putin, whose military has conducted airstrikes on Syria's rebel held areas, is depicted as a homeless person, while Assad appears partially submerged in water with only a paper boat to come to his aid.
"The Mediterranean," 2015 Credit: Abdalla Al Omari
In another painting entitled The Queue, a seemingly endless line of people waiting for food, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and former US President Barack Obama, is depicted.
While reactions to the series have been "90% positive," according to Al Omari, the artist also received a fair share of criticism.
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The posters by Fares Cachoux are simple and haunting. Though he was living abroad as the civil war broke out in his homeland, he wanted to show the world the stories coming out of Syria. His most recent poster reflects on what the International Organization for Migration says were nearly 1 million refugees who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in 2015 for safer land. Half of these people are Syrian. "The sea graveyard for countless Syrians attempting to cross to escape DEATH. ... She awaits in the depths of the waves of the Mediterranean," the caption reads in French below the work he sent to CNN. Credit: courtesy Fares Cachoux
"People are sometimes too fond of their politicians. They cannot see them fall off their thrones. They cannot see them weak," Al Omari told CNN.
The artist said his intention was not to disrespect world leaders, but to "give them back their humanity".
"Somehow my aim shifted from an expression of anger that I had...to a more vivid desire to disarm my figures, to picture them outside their positions of power."
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