Street art is a tool for artists to express themselves and comment on the world around them. It is often used to express dissatisfaction but also hope, and in Syria at the moment there’s a desperate need for hope. Enter Abu Malik al-Shami – rebel fighter by day, street artist by night. His delicate images are often the only ray of light in landscapes shattered by conflict.
His graffiti has been getting a lot of attention lately, and many have even compared him to Banksy, because of the political messages in his murals as well as the fact that they appear overnight! His work, of course, focuses on the war in Syria.
But it is not always easy for Abu Malik who, like so many in Syria, struggles to get the basics he needs to live. It’s also incredibly difficult to find the art supplies he needs to paint, especially after the only art supplies shop was turned into rubble. And then there is the risk of being shot or arrested, which is why he usually paints at night, using his mobile phone as a source of light.
However, in the two years he lived in Darayya, Abu Malik painted more than 30 murals. His first mural done on the ruins of a big house was of a little girl pointing to a heart, teaching a soldier about love.
Abu Malik, now 22 years old, lives in Idlib and has not stopped painting murals.
Here are a few of our favourites:
Let us know what your favourite is!