These are depictions of the war in Syria – but they have been delicately composed with stones. They are the work of 52-year-old Syria-based artist and sculptor Nizar Ali Badr, who publishes pictures of his creations on Facebook.
When the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, Nizar saw tragedies unfolding – homes destroyed, families displaced, children killed. He began to re-create the things he saw in stone.
“I didn’t have a camera to record any of my work,” he said, in a phone interview from Latakia, Syria. “As soon as I finished, I looked at it for some time and then destroyed it to make a new one.”
His stone art became a way to express his emotions and the worries that kept him awake at night, and to share those feelings with the world.
In the past, Nizar glued the stones on to cards, but now glue is too expensive. Nearly as soon as he has created a piece of art he dismantles it and begins piecing together a new image.
“I take photos of the artwork. This is the only way to preserve them and make sure people will see them,” he said.
Nizar has created more than 25,000 scenes from daily life in Syria since 2011, he said. He doesn’t sell any of his pieces; he never intended to make a living out of it.
“I am a human before anything else. The conflict has caused me a lot of pain and I sometimes can’t sleep at night,” he said.
“My only consolation is the work I do and therefore I don’t see it as a source of revenue. It is pure passion for stone art. I want to communicate human emotions that people everywhere in the world share, such as love, hope, and sadness.”
“When I saw all these families being forced to leave their homes, I felt pain. Why should anyone be forced to leave their home?”
Through his art, he tries to showcase the sacrifices people make and the risks they take to escape war and persecution, he said.
Many of his images depict families and children. He attempts to convey the suffering of the most vulnerable and the burden of being on the move.
Nizar Ali Badr’s works are searing in their poignancy, go and have a look at them all. Share them. Remind everyone you know that war is not desirable. It’s a reminder we Americans need right now.