During the last few years, Syrian artist Abdalla Al Omari has been creating striking oil paintings that depict the world’s most controversial and influential leaders as displaced and disenfranchised civilians to raise awareness for people fleeing war-torn countries. His fictionalized creations, belonging to “The Vulnerability Series,” feature powerful leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un and President of Syria Bashar al-Assad in moments of true despair and hopelessness.
The artist’s original incentive to create “The Vulnerability Series” came from his personal experience of being exiled and a refugee. A year after the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War on March 15, 2011, Omari was forced to flee his home country. He was granted asylum in Belgium and now works from a studio in Brussels trying to connect people with the over 5 million suffering Syrian refugees outside of Syria.
“As an artist, I’ve always been intrigued by the romantic idea of vulnerability and the impact it can generate,” the Syrian painter and filmmaker says. Omari also discloses that his initial anger and frustration quickly morphed into something more profound.”While depicting my subjects and developing the series, I eventually arrived at the paradoxical nature of empathy, and somehow my aim shifted from an expression of anger I had, that I thought was the trigger, to a more vivid desire to disarm my figures and to picture them outside of their positions of power.”
One of the Brussels-based painter’s most powerful and disturbing paintings was inspired by a photo that went viral online in 2014. The photo shows people lining up for food in the area where Omari himself lived for the first twenty years of his life. With his painting, Abdalla Al Omari asks vehemently leaders to imagine themselves in the shoes of those who are directly affected by their actions.