Mohammad Omran

17 July 2013

Sculptor Mohammad Omran joined the Syrian revolution from the very beginning, as if it was something he had been awaiting for years. He chose to give the uprising everything he could offer, and that meant trading sculpting, which he was renowned for, for drawing. He wanted to use art to exhibit events on the ground in Syria, and found that drawing was a much quicker means to do so.

His drawings made clear his love for his people and for the revolution. They were direct, a feature that he told Al-Hayat became an essential aspect of his art after March 15. “I draw events as they happen without including my opinions on them,” Omran said. “I try to stay away from caricatures, and let my drawings speak for themselves.”

Omran has received numerous awards for his sculptures, and for his drawings that he shares on his Facebook page, as well as on a page called Art and Freedom. This page was created by a group of Syrian artists in order to share creative works related to the revolution and freedom.

His art always features characters inspired by real life; some are aesthetic in nature, while others are satirical, such as his drawings of the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. In an interview with the online newspaper Al-Modon, Omran said, “As a child, I feared Hafez al-Assad. His face and his features scared me most. I used to see him as someone who was elevated off the ground, like a God. He always frowned. His voice scared me too. His picture was plastered over our school notebooks.” Omran remembered the fear of the late President was instilled in Syrians for decades. “We were raised to be constantly afraid. We whispered, and our laughs were silenced. We are always cautious and fearful, and for me, this fear is directly linked to Hafez al-Assad.”

Omran has included Hafez al-Assad’s face in many of his drawings, in an attempt to help himself, and other Syrians, move past the oppression of the Assads, father and son. One of the most repeated chants during the revolution is “God damn your soul, Hafez,” and Omran tried to keep the sentiment alive through his satirical drawings of the dictator.

Despite his undying support for the Syrian revolution, Omran is very critical of it, and is willing to use his art to expose its mistakes. “In the beginning of the revolution, I did not use my art to criticize mistakes being made by rebels. But now, some of the mistakes are intolerable, which is why I openly comment on them.”

Through his art, Omran has helped document the history of the Syrian revolution. He believes that “it is every artist’s duty to document what is taking place in any way possible.”

Mohammad Omran’s Life:

  • Born in Damascus, 1979

  • Certificate from the College of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpting, Damascus University, 1999-2000

  • Diploma in Sculpting, Damascus University, 2001-2002

  • Member of the Association of Fine Arts in Damascus, 2001

  • Demonstrator at the College of Fine Arts in Damascus, Department of Sculpting, 2005-2007

Galleries He Participated In:

  • Second Syrian Youth Gallery, People’s Hall, Damascus, 2001

  • Third Syrian Youth Gallery, People’s Hall, Damascus, 2002

  • Art Spring Gallery, Damascus, 2002

  • French Cultural Center, Damascus, 2002

  • International Biennial of Love at the Festival of Love, Latakia, 2003

  • Sindian Cultural Festival, Tartous, 2003

  • Gallery with artist Yaser Safi, Jordan, 2004

  • Damascus Colors Gallery, Mustafa Ali Hall, Damascus, 2005

  • Fine Art Revival Gallery, Part Four, Damascus

  • Independent Gallery, Ashtar Hall, Damascus, 2003

  • Independent Gallery, Palette Art House, Damascus, 2006

Awards and Recognition:

  • Award of Recognition, Second Syrian Youth Gallery, 2001

  • First Prize in Sculpting, Third Syrian Youth Gallery, 2002

  • Grand Prize, Biennial of Love, Latakia, 2003

  • First Prize in Sculpting, Damascus Colors Competition, Damascus, 2005

Follow Mohammad Omran on Facebook

This work is under a Creative Commons license. Attribution: Non commercial - ShareAlike 4.0. International license

Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad