With Time Magazine recently naming among its most influential people of 2011 the prominent Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, a man who also picked up Reporters Without Borders’ prestigious Press Freedom Prize last year, the role dissident artists play in expressing the demands of opposition groups has again been brought to light.
Across Syria, as elsewhere in the region, street demonstrations against the status quo have been accompanied by a flurry of creativity directed against authority in what can be classed as revolutionary art. The forms range drastically – from cartoons to spoof videos, from puppets to animation – but the message they express is the same: The government needs to change.
What is notable about this generation of anti-establishment activists is their use of popular online forums to disseminate their messages. Facebook is the most palpable example of this, the conduit par excellence of the Syrian opposition, as is YouTube, the choice website for uploading videos about demonstrations and anti-government messages.
The above graphic showcases only a sample of this creative expression, selected for the artists’ popularity and uniqueness. Some readers will justifiably lament omitted formats of opposition expression, such as paintings or more conventional art forms, and are encouraged to post suggestions in the comments below.
Luna Safwan contributed reporting.