In December of 2016, civilians in Aleppo were being massacred. The bloodshed had been going on in Syria for years as the international community hummed and hawed and focused their attention on whether they’d be willing to accept refugees from the region.
On one particularly grim day though, social media feeds began to see “last calls” and “last tweets” from those still trapped in the war zone. Videos from young men convinced that these were going to be their last hours. Photos taken by grieving parents of young children begging the world to remember their sons and daughters.
The weekend before I had been woken by a nightmare. I dreamt that I was part of some kind of protest taking place in a glittering modern city. There were clashes with authorities, but nothing terribly serious. We were expressing our outrage at the government—and there’s no shortage of reasons to be outraged these days. Then one bright, clear morning we saw these rockets being shot into the sky. For a moment as they flew overhead they looked like fireworks, but as they came down I just knew that this was the government’s way of saying that they were done playing. That moment—the bombs hanging in the sky overhead and the sick knowledge of the terror and violence to come—that was the heart of the nightmare for me. Then the bombs fell and people started screaming.
That night I painted that vision from my nightmare. I’ve never been to a war zone and never felt that kind of terror, so this was my way to try and bear witness… to not look away from the nightmare as it continued to unfold in Aleppo…
Acrylic on canvas, 14″x11″