miriam cooke

The Syrian Revolution, Art and the End of Ideology (2018)

PUBLICATION: The Edinburgh Companion to the Postcolonial Middle East


In May 2013, Syrian graphic artist Sana Yazigi launched The Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution. It is still going strong. A trilingual website, it archives intel- lectual and artistic responses to the Syrian revolution that endures since 2011 despite attempts to repress it. In the space of four short years, the site now includes over 26,000 expressive reactions to the harrowing events Syrians have experienced. In the mission statement, Yazigi writes of her astonishment to find so much creativity in the space of destruction:
The revolution established a space for ingenuity that has astounded us, the Syrians, before even making its mark on the rest of the world, and we wonder, where had all this talent in satire, art, and innovation been? The outburst of the uprising against oppression and tyranny brought on a surge of these remarkable, latent energies, the spontaneous and the organized, in a way never before seen in all of Syria’s years marked by repression and injustice. . . . This project aims to archive all the intel- lectual and artistic expressions in the age of revolution; it is writing, recording, and collecting stories of the Syrian people, and those experiences through which they have regained meaning of their social, political and cultural lives. . . . The website also aims to enhance the impact of the artistic Syrian resistance, to reinforce its place in the revolution, to gather, archive and spread the messages it expresses, and to help create networks between its main actors and the outside world, whether they were individuals or groups. Here, the artist is considered a citizen before anything else, resisting with his art and standing by his people’s fight.