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Video: Syrian-born artist Zaher Omareen's hard-hitting exhibition exposing the horrors of war opens in Belfast


London based, Syrian-born artist, Zaher Omareen brings his hard-hitting and unique video art exhibition to Queen’s University, Belfast.

X-Ray Syria is part of a wider British Council project, the third in the series of art exhibitions exploring the roles that artists play in responding to conflict areas.

Zaher Omareen said: “The show compiles a collection of stories, including mine, from living in Syria under a dictatorship.

I am trying to show through the films, the experiences which people are living through in Syria right now.”

He adds: “The exhibition is not only about Syria, it is about the effects of any war and dictatorship on the people who live through it. Something I hope the audiences in Belfast will relate to.”

The collection features 11 short films, footage collected by friends of Zaher’s in Syria and his own footage. 

The conflict footage has been mixed with music, poems and stories and run on a loop so the videos leave the viewer with different feelings and opinions, depending on when they start watching.

Curator, Lois Stonock said: “Zaher’s show presents differing viewpoints from Syria and the consequences of war on people living in the country. Artists provide important and alternative views to that we see in the press and help to build a nuanced understanding of the effects of war. Zaheer’s films give us an insight into his experiences and the experiences of others.”

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts, British Council said: “The overall aim of this work is clear, through arts and culture, civil society is strengthened from the ground up; marginalised people are able to express themselves freely and advocate for their rights successfully.

He added: “Whilst the British Council cannot have a physical presence in the country at present we are committed to supporting the people of Syria through the provision of schemes such as this, as well as through access to English language learning and civil society projects. “

X-Ray Syria, part of Third Space series can be viewed in the Naughton Gallery in Queen’s University, admission is free and runs until 10 February 2016.

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