Rima Marrouch reports on Syrian painters who continue to paint despite the violence, and a recent exhibition of paintings smuggled out of Syria at Espace Kettaneh Kunigk (Tanit), in Beirut.
Marrouch tells the story of painter Hiba Akkad, who "started protesting in her neighborhood in Syria's capital, Damascus. Men would hoist her on their shoulders as she shouted anti-government slogans - this in a conservative neighborhood that had at one time shunned her for deciding not to wear a hijab. The protests lasted for months. Then came the intimidation: 'It was a lot of pressure. It was difficult to go out to protests,' she recalls. Syria's dreaded security forces started asking about her in the neighborhood. At one point, pro-government thugs tried to break into her house and chased her down the street. She stopped protesting and spent more time at home. 'This was when I started to miss painting,' she says. 'But I had doubts if I was still able to paint after all those months.' "