The Messengers of Love: To Resist Oblivion

22 February 2014

“This is the story of Syria, and the story of all nations that suffered wars.” This is how Fadwa Suleiman, the rebellious artist that graced many a demonstration between Homs and Damascus, describes her new show. The artist is driven by the passion and desire to find the means to express what is happening in Syria, a passion that increased after she was forced to flee the country and move to France. "Many thoughts crowd the place in one´s head," she said in an interview with Syria Untold. "You want to say it all at once. You want to shout"

Suleiman’s shout came out in the form of an epic play titled, “The Messengers of Love”. The show premiered as a trial show on the stage of the “House of Europe and the Levant” in Paris, France.

In the beginning, Suleiman’s plan was to organize a photo exhibition, along with poetic recitals for texts by Syrian writers, and translated poems from French writers. Suleiman started selecting her photos from the many amateur photography pages in Syria, including “Lens of a Young Homsi”, or “Horani”, as well as those of other war photographers from around the world. She also collected poems from select writers like Tammam Tellawi, Mohammad Debo and Hanadi Zarqa. She also selected Paul Eluard’s on the savage bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.

As the photos, texts and poems started coming together, Suleiman found herself with an “epic theatrical play that told the story of the Syrian Revolution from its nonviolent and hopeful beginnings, until the state of destruction, paralysis and utter loss,” as she said in an interview with Syria Untold. And as the preparations went further, news scenes found their way to the collective consciousness that is this play: videos of the first two martyrs in Daraa, photos of tanks converging on Daraa, then Banias, Duma, Barzeh al-Qabun, until the scenes of daily murder and mass destruction.

The show, which had been in preparation for two years, featured Suleiman along with six other performers that were specifically chosen to be from different countries speaking French with different accents: Vietnam, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Congo and France. Some of the texts were also translated into the mother tongues of Suleiman’s fellow performers. 

The “Messengers of Love” is an attempt to keep despair at bay. “Despair of the tragic demise of all noble human feelings,” as Suleiman says, “But this show is the opposite of despair, it is also resisting death through life. It is resisting oblivion, through words, images and lights.”

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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad