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the survivors

Group show The Survivors by 16 artists

(April 2016)

Halfway the installation of the exhibition, the paintings still covered in bubble wrap.
Only a few minutes before they were taken down.

The exhibition The Survivors, is a reaction by 16 artists on the drawings of Taim Safar, an 11-year-old refugee from Syria, now living in Turkey. A great initiative by The Hague Peace Projects. The 2 larger than life propaganda poster like paintings were almost censored. The Hague Municipality was convinced these two paintings, shown in the city hall in a very tolerant country, the Netherlands, would lead to incidents with people from Syria and friends or enemies of Assad. So they took them down.

Thanks to a PR campaign (Facebook, art blogs) and newspaper journalists, the paintings were back on the walls just before the exhibition was opened.


Bashar al-Assad is one of the worst dictators today. Large intimidating propaganda posters are all over the streets.
In the background of this slightly changed official portrait, the victims of the sarin gas attacks in Ghouta, east of Damascus in 2013, are shown. 1.429 people were killed, including at least 426 children.

Oil on canvas, 67 x 95 inches (170 x 240 cm), painted in China (country of propaganda), 2016


495.000 people (2021) were killed after 10 years of Syrian war, among them 160.000 civilians. This painting shows a propaganda image of the ‘Slaughterer of Damascus’ Bashar al-Assad, but the image is torn and will be torn more and more until it’s gone.
Drawings of children and texts from the people for a free Syria will take over.

Oil on canvas, 67 x 95 inches (170 x 240 cm), painted in China, 2016

12,000 LOST

In the first five years of the Syrian war, approximately 12,000 children were killed. The light grey toys symbolize the losses of lives. The color refers to the ruined buildings by the bombings, everything turns grey, in every sense of the word. The doll in the center tries to ward off the catastrophe. The baby dolls show us the innocence of the children; my little ponies speak for dreams and freedom. The toys as a whole represent everything refugees have to leave behind. This installation tells the story of the Syrian children: war, death, refuge, fear and hope.

33 toys, labeled and numbered, alkyd paint, wire, 33 x 55 inches (85 x 140 cm, 2016

Slaughterer staring at 12,000 Lost... (foto: Albertus Pieters).