Syrian-born Kkaled Abdulwahed comes from a graphic design communications background, but has created striking video pieces that look directly at life through the lens of war. This piece, Bullet, combines hand-drawn animation with graffiti and uses a bullet-symbol as a timeline projectile traveling through life impacting people, facilitating authority and power, and finally bringing with it, death. The heart, a common icon of social positiveness and well-being, and butterflies, symbols of childhood innocence, are defended and defeated as the bullet glides through this narrative, now three years old and still completely relevant.
Slot in Memory shows revolution and the mayhem surrounding it as though we are part of the experience hiding in a non-secure place. We are observers behind a door cracked open or a sliver opening in a wall where tiny vertical images and sounds convey the fear, excitement, and danger outside. Interspersed footage of children on a creaky swing interrupt the violent activity and the two juxtapose situations make the ordinary fun of children swinging less fun and the violent elements of revolution all the more violent.
And then there is Tuj, a simple story that uses the rhythm of a kid’s bouncing ball to emphasize the horror of being bombed.
Short video social documentaries are a mainstay to engage the public on pressing public issues as seen in Vox, Facebook, AJ+, Upworthy, and Buzzfeed to name a few. Using a storytelling version of this medium instead of a documentary format, Khaled Abdulwahed’s videos operate on a highly emotional level to convey the unimaginable circumstances of Syrians or any people suffering under civil war. This is especially effective when much needed change and positive action comes not only by statistical data that reports conflict, but also by our emotional responses to images and information revealing circumstances that should not be tolerated.
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