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Artist Reimagines World Leaders As Refugees

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Abdalla Al Omari, a Syrian artist has depicted Donald Trump and 10 other world leaders as refugees in his new series of paintings titled “The Vulnerability Series”, currently on display in the United Arab Emirates.

Abdalla Al Omari who has refugee status in Belgium, says his own experience with displacement inspired the creation of his new body of work.

“I wanted to imagine how all these powerful leaders in the world would look if they were in our shoes.”

In the series, President Trump is portrayed as a refugee holding a young child; his belongings and a sleeping mat on his back, a photo of his family clutched in his right hand.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Al Assad also feature. Putin, whose military has conducted airstrikes on Syria’s rebel held areas, is depicted as a homeless person, while Assad appears partially submerged in water with only a paper boat to come to his aid.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin

Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former President of Iran

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea

David Cameron, former British Prime Minister

Former French Presidents François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Barack Obama, former President of the United States

In another painting entitled The Queue, a seemingly endless line of people waiting for food, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and former US President Barack Obama, is depicted.

 

The artist said his intention was not to disrespect world leaders, but to “give them back their humanity”.
“Somehow my aim shifted from an expression of anger that I had…to a more vivid desire to disarm my figures, to picture them outside their positions of power.”

 

The media, he says, focuses on the numbers of refugees but neglects the personal stories behind these figures.

“When you know the personal story of someone, you connect with them,” says Al-Omari.

The refugee crisis has claimed the lives of thousands, most notably Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy washed up on a Turkish beach in September 2015. Despite this and other high-profile deaths, little has been done to change the situation.

*The Power of Vulnerability* runs until July 6 at The Ayyam Gallery in Dubai.

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