The Artist In Rebellion

Raja Adbulrahim profiles Haj Kadour, whose paintings of Bashar and Hafez Assad are being destroyed by Syrian rebels:

Their faces have dominated walls, storefronts and car windows all over Syria, a visual declaration of loyalty to the dictators. Their images — sometimes partially hidden behind sunglasses, other times in military uniform but always stern and slightly foreboding — were the ubiquitous reminders that Big Brother was watching. Haj Kadour painted hundreds of the portraits. “We don’t need to dwell on that,” he said. …

[A]s the revolt against Assad continues, the 66-year-old artist has seen the portraits he spent his career producing torn down and ripped apart. Once, local opposition figures came to his house in Syria and apologized for defacing his paintings.

“I told them, ‘You don’t have to get my permission; go destroy them.’ “