The website, Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution, is a comprehensive database of art produced by Syrians in the wake of the ongoing war-revolution. The producers of the site note that the war, now in its sixth year, has unleashed an astonishing wave of artistic expression that communicates the challenges to Syrians, its political and cultural upheavals, not to mention the ever-present threat to life and livelihood.
People enduring war are vulnerable, and understanding real issues that they face or what they are feeling cannot be fully understood through the filter of news media. Footage of refugee camps and border crossings; statistics of populations fleeing; reports of hospitals and schools bombed; and mounting death tolls presented in terms of region, political group or when they occur communicate only perspectives that are mostly vetted and moderated by news or political institutions.
But the Syrian Civil War/Revolution, like most conflicts, inspires the citizens — artists and non-artists — to express themselves by whatever means available, and the results are both inspiring and heartbreaking, and the creative production does not conform to slick infographics produced by Western media that tries to boil down the Syrian Civil war into players and timeline events often omitting day-to-day fear and ongoing forfeiture of anything vaguely approaching the idea of normalcy.
Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution includes almost all classes of creative production: visual art, music, theater, design, broadcast, and film; and it presents stories in an easy-to-find and navigate interface. It is well sourced making it possible to trace where its entries came from revealing how Syrian artists make use of social media to expand their creative footprint. Creative Memory’s about page states:
Although most of the cultural and artistic output of the Syrian revolution is available somewhere on the Internet, it rushes by and is difficult to find soon after its initial launching.
To create an online archive therefore serves a double aim: to gather and spread the messages expressed by the different artworks and other cultural productions and to help Syria’s artistic resistance, be it individuals or groups, to create networks among themselves and connect to the outside world.
Note: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, and are not necessarily held by the individuals, groups, or producers of media featured in this article.