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Caricatures problem restrictions, depict struggling of Idlib residents

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ALEPPO, Syria — Although the artwork of caricature has at all times been restricted to males contemplating it’s an arduous path fraught with difficulties and risks — particularly in conservative societies that don’t favor ladies working in such a occupation — quite a lot of Syrian ladies in Idlib have bravely entered the sphere to convey to the world the picture of day by day life and specific the considerations and hopes of the individuals within the final spot managed by the Syrian opposition in northwestern Syria.

Nermin Shaar, a feminine caricaturist residing in Idlib, continues to publish her work in some native newspapers and on her private Facebook web page. Shaar aspires to excel and develop her abilities and hopes to take part in artwork exhibitions and publish her drawings in main worldwide newspapers.

She informed Al-Monitor, “I started drawing at an early age, and I learned to draw murals and animation. Then I ventured into caricatures, which I loved. I developed my skill in this kind of art that is dear to my heart through lessons and training courses that I attended on YouTube and through my follow-up of the work of international and Arab artists in this field.”

Shaar added, “I loved the art of caricature because it touches on sensitive issues in society, tackles the world of politics, and expresses people’s concerns, pain and daily suffering in a sarcastic way to draw attention. This art is dangerous and causes trouble, but it has a huge impact on reality.”

“I chose to face the possible risks from local authorities and social restrictions to gain a greater degree of influence. Through one drawing, a cartoonist can depict suffering or draw attention to a very important issue. [Her] drawing may be a spark of change,” she mentioned.

Shaar indicated that she can’t draw every part that’s on her thoughts. There are purple strains that she can’t cross to keep away from bringing hassle to herself and her household.

She mentioned, “I’m nonetheless at the start of the creative and journalistic path. There are many obstacles, primarily the absence of caricature specialists. Therefore, I resort to academic programs on YouTube, and I wish to have a high-capacity digital gadget for drawing cartoons. The hassle is we additionally shouldn’t have an official physique or a syndicate to protect the rights of painters in Idlib.”

“I worked with several local newspapers and websites in Idlib, including Hibr Press. My goal is to shed light on a specific issue that bothers people in Idlib, to stand by them and to express their concerns so that I can convey what they feel but cannot say,” she added.

“I am grateful to my family who supported me. Without them, I would not have continued training to hone my talent in a society that believes women should not enter the world of politics and professions that bring trouble, such as caricature,” mentioned Shaar.

Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) controls the Idlib governorate, which is home to nearly three million individuals in northwestern Syria and to Islamist factions and less-influential opposition factions. Shaar’s caricatures appear to defy social restrictions and native authorities to various levels to focus on living-related crises such because the bread disaster and street accidents. Shaar additionally focuses on criticizing the Syrian regime on an ongoing foundation.

Painter Salam Hamid, who lives in Jisr al-Shughur within the countryside of Idlib, informed Al-Monitor, “There is no work, profession, or talent without obstacles and risks. Through my experience in drawing and my passion for caricature and drawing on walls, I found that this talent is very welcome, which helps overcome many obstacles.”

She added, “My talent for drawing started in my childhood, and I discovered it in elementary school. It stayed with me every step of the way until I developed a strong bond with it. After stopping my university education, I devoted myself to my talent and started working on developing it with personal effort. I now draw using several techniques, including mural painting, oil painting and caricatures.”

“Art is a global language and has a huge impact and important role. Art has a great ability to convey strong messages and clear facts to the world and contribute to making voices heard and showing the suffering of people such as detainees, displaced persons and forcibly displaced persons due to war,” Hamid mentioned.

She added, “My drawings reflect social and political issues, satirical events and every influential event that revolves around them. Through these drawings, I try to shed light on the suffering of children and civilians and embody the violations committed by the Assad regime and Russia. The world must hear about our suffering, and caricatures and drawings in general are an important tool for making our voices heard.”

“For me, drawing is an outlet and gives me a feeling of happiness when I practice it. I do not think that it is a difficult talent, especially for women. It is a tool and a means to express any feeling, and it is a gateway to oneself. I aspire to be a model for successful Syrian women,” Hamid mentioned.

Cartoonist Amani al-Ali, who lives in Idlib, told Al-Monitor, “Caricature is a dangerous art in itself because its ideas are often satirical and directed against society or people in power. It is often heavy for the target to hear, as it criticizes sensitive aspects. Women cartoonists who live in war zones face double the risk. For me, caricature is an important tool for achieving change and freedom.”

The road seems bumpy for cartoonists. In mid-July 2021, Syrian activist and painter Hadeel Ismail who works with the Syrian Press Center was stabbed and robbed by unknown persons in the city of Azaz in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

In a previous incident, on June 19, 2021, Hadeel was threatened by unknown masked men regarding her drawing caricatures of the former head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition Nasr al-Hariri. The Enab Baladi web site quoted the director of the Syrian Press Center, Akram al-Ahmad, who mentioned, “If you ever draw Nasr [al-]Hariri again, you will not like what you will see.”

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