Tammam Azzam is one of Syria’s rising young talents.
Forced to abandon his canvas when he fled Damascus at the outbreak of the war, the artist had to look for other mediums of expression – he opted for digital art, combining images of Western masterpieces with scenes of devastation across Syria.
His work ‘Freedom Graffiti’ has made his a household name on the global art scene after it went viral. It is a representation of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ superimposed over the bullet-ridden walls of a building in Damascus.
“It talks about the line between tragedy and comedy. And how you can make art, in this case. So it talks about the hope that people can fight against war by making a love painting. I use this one (The Kiss) because it’s very famous. So, as an artistic trick, you can get more attention,” said the artist.
Azzam’s aim is to highlight the destruction of a country torn apart by war. He hopes his artwork will give people outside of Syria a deeper understanding of the suffering in his country.
“I think that right now art doesn’t make sense for people there, because death steals every moment in Syria. But as an artist, I am not a soldier, this is how I can fight,” he says.
Born in Damascus in 1980, Tammam Azzam now lives and works in Dubai.
His latest exhibition, ‘I, The Syrian’, is on show at the Ayyam Gallery in London until the end of January.