Samir Khalili

28 January 2014

Samir Khalili is a Syrian/Palestinian artist, who began his career as a poster designer, to shift later to caricature, which he considers as “a tool to strip the world of all its camouflages.”

The artist's paintings vary in subject, however, there seems to be a theme often repeated in most of his paintings, grey, gloomy colors and faces with wiped out features, which are not only Khalili's artistic signature, but also a protest against the media that turned Syrians into mere numbers, and an immortalization of every moment of pain, hope and revolt that came out of an uprising that “brought out the best of those who believed in it,” as the artist reflected in an interview with Syria Untold.

The bleak drawings of the artist leave you with a heartache: brides and grooms walking on the alter of death, Palestinians torn after being forced to become refugees yet another time, the map of Syrian taking the form of a mother giving birth... in a clear metaphor for a long-awaited freedom.

“The uprising has strengthened my belonging to Syria.” Samir says, “The issue of Palestinian refugees and whether to join the uprising has been extremely controversial, but I've always felt like I belong here just as much as I belong to Palestine. I was like most young Syrians, following the daily events with passion and hope, I started making symbolic designs and then moved to caricatures.”

From then on, Khalili's story with the Syrian uprising began, drawing and documenting it through his paintings. “The People will not die”, a painting he made after the massacre of Darayya, shows a family holding a picture of their deceased son, the family dies and the whole neighborhood holds their picture, the neighbors die and the whole world holds their picture up high. The painting that is filled with both pain and hope, was widely spread across the internet and expressed the tragedy and determination of the Syrian people who chose to continue fighting dictatorship no matter what.

In the painting of Samir Khalili, the Palestinian and Syrian tragedy intertwine to scream in the face of the world: The uprising lives on.

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