'The Kiss' Seen Around the World: Syrian Klimt Street Art Sendup Goes Viral

Syrian-born Tammam Azzam makes work that comments on the devastation from the ongoing civil war in his country.

In Syria, more than 50,000 people have been killed since protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime erupted in March 2011. In response to the devastation in his country, Damascus-born artist Tammam Azzam has created the body of work, Syrian Museum, which originally showed at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai. His latest image that explores the ongoing conflict is an incredible reimagining of "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt, superimposed onto a war-torn building. Klimt's masterpiece, which lays on top of a crumbling edifice riddled with bullet holes, reveals the country's struggle between beauty and destruction, as people cope with a civil war that shows no signs of ending.

Azzam's image clearly resonates around the world: it was ‘liked’ by over 20,000 people and shared 14,000 times in the 5 hours it was put out through social media. Azzam, who fled Syria for fear of being called up for reservist army duty, has been commenting on the plight of his people through his artwork, which often juxtaposes popular works of art over images of bombed out Syrian cities. The artist's powerful works give the hopeful feeling that beauty will win out, if we keep talking—either literally or visually—about what is happening in the region.

Image courtesy of Ayyam Gallery