JASMINE, ANOTHER SYRIA

Edition 1
Jan/Feb/March 2019

Jasmine, Another Syria
Quarterly magazine

During those troubled times, it seemed to us essential to offer another vision of Syria through its culture and the artistic creation of its artists.

Jasmine, Another Syria was born from the meeting of people from different horizons and cultures: French, Franco-Syrians and Syrians wishing to show their solidarity with Syria and its people.

The focus will be given on the artistic works of Syrian artists, the history of Syria (and its links with France), its literature and poetry, its cultural diversity and wealth.

Jasmine, Another Syria is meant to build a bridge between two languages, two cultures, two worlds.

This magazine with independent and non-profit funding will be published on a quarterly basis online on our Website syriaartasso.com, and annually as a print edition. It will be edited partially in French and in English languages.


Syrian artist Khaled Dawwa

Khaled Dawwa, a Syrian artist and sculptor

Born in Musyaff, Syria in 1985, Khaled Dawwa obtained a degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, majoring in sculpture, in 2007. He works with clay, and his sculptures reflect the Syrian people: fragile, brittle, malleable, but still alive. The beauty of his sculptures stems from the attitudes of these characters, whose position harbours their state of mind. He lives and works in France since 2014.

Since 2007, the work of Khaled Dawwa has been reflecting a universe filled with expectation. This expectation, existing both as an act and as a lack thereof, is a call, a hope, and a look outside, but also a silence, a void, and a mute withdrawal. The world he taps into, and its protagonists, constantly examine this issue, and are in turn recaptured by this paradox. The fluctuation between their boundaries leaves its mark on Khaled Dawwa’s fragile figures, injecting them with a particular energy; they advance without movement, illuminated with shadow. The start of the Syrian conflict is the source of a rupture, indeed radical change, in Khaled Dawwa’s universe of expectation.

His language and work undergo a palpable metamorphosis in time with the course of events. The tools and materials used evolve; lighter, more “clandestine”. They in turn seek to express, to say something more. The figures and their world also transform, but always with this background canvas of expectation. Pieces like Dissidence, Froid (“Dissidence, Cold”) and Où as-tu perdu ton corps? (“Where did you lose your body?”) evoke this continuity.

In mid-2013, the area where his studio is located was bombed, and Khaled was injured. Arrested then imprisoned, he is sent to serve in the Army. Refusing to engage in any military activity, he deserts and is forced to flee Syria. He heads to Lebanon, where he lives in hiding for a year, before leaving for France, where he arrived in October 2014. This long, 18-month journey, which saw him experience hospital, prison, enlistment and exile, intimately linked with the events taking place in Syria, is today reflected in his work, and has impacted on him deeply.

Khaled began working on his series “Compressed” upon his arrival in France. He presented his first solo exhibition in the city of Marseille in southern France in June 2015, and then in Paris in October of the same year.

The “Compressed” collection mimics the artist’s impressions and feelings through people in a state of physical and psychological compression. It ranges from his arrest in Syria in May 2013 through his stay in Beirut to his exile in France.

This collection includes more than 40 works of art and Sculpture with grilled clay, as well as a wide range of ink-on-paper works.

Artist’s statement

Text written by Khaled Dawwa in 2015 as part of his sculpture series entitled "Compressed".

"I’m going to explode, everything inside of me is about to explode ...

Close your eyes and imagine that you are in a space of no more than half a meter by half a meter,

Surrounded by a load of human beings, in an area not exceeding half a meter by half a meter.

Imagine you are witnessing all the daily details, meals, drinks, cold, pain, nostalgia, games, illness, singing, sleeping, delirium, painting, hunger, insults, death, just in this area,

Compressed … I cannot get out.

Compressed …. And I can’t escape

In this square, I no longer have any contours of my own

The bodies of the others are mine.

A hand moves, perhaps it’s mine, perhaps it’s his or hers, perhaps it’s ours

"Don’t move" … you’re not allowed to move.

Compressed

And I want to sleep … "Learn to sleep by standing"

I want to shout or maybe even cry … "You can, as long as you don’t scream"

Compressed …

The man near me is dead … we’re all dying.

Imagine yourself there …

What day is it?

I want to know the time … I want to be deaf.

I don’t remember their faces … I want my mother … one day I saw her in a dream.

I want to get out … I will marry every woman when I get out.

Compressed

You’re here, now

Someone else is over there

Thousands of others are over there, probably for eternity …

over here.