In pictures: Social media art mourns Turkey-Syria earthquake victims
Tens of thousands of people woke up to walls shaking and collapsing around them earlier this month. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake has wreaked havoc across a huge area of southwestern Turkey and northern Syria, levelling buildings and killing more than 40,000 people. Moved by the disaster, social media artists have responded by producing works inspired by the tragedy and its aftermath. Here Middle East Eye looks at some of the art shared on social media over the past fortnight.
The top image by Haitham Saigh depicts a family within the rubble of a collapsed building with what appears to be a child that has died. While there has been devastation on both sides of the Turkey-Syria border, those living in Syria have already experienced 12 years of conflict, including frequent bombardment by government forces. In the aftermath of the February earthquake, international rescuers initially struggled to reach those affected due to restrictions on access to rebel-held areas. The image above by Turkish artist Hacer Bolat depicts the situation in Turkey where rescuers are still sifting through the rubble with faint hopes of finding more survivors.
Turkish artist Hediye Sumeyra Korkmaz has shared a number of images in order to drive donations to the earthquake relief efforts. Her illustrations focus on specific themes, such as brotherhood, kindness and mercy, often based on actual photographs taken in the aftermath of the disaster. The image above is of an Azerbaijani man who packed his car with bedding, blankets and other aid and made his way to Turkey to help survivors. The caption means "being nice can heal you".
Another image by Korkmaz is captioned "cuddling can heal" and is inspired by real images of animals being picked out alive from the rubble in the aftermath of the 6 February quake. (Hediye Sumeyra Korkmaz)
In this widely shared image, Palestinian illustrator Hadil Alsafadi depicts a Syrian mother cuddling her children in a crater caused by the earthquake as neighbours gather around to help. The rescuers come bearing ladders, lanterns and building material, as well as food. In the caption accompanying her Instagram post, she quotes a tradition attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, in which he says: “The believers in their affection, mercy and compassion for each other are of one body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.”
Prague-based visual artist Fuad al-Ymani shared his sketch of Syrian rescuers trying to shift rubble in their attempts to find survivors of the earthquake. Ymani said he spent a long time trying to find the best way to reflect the pain of the scenes coming out of the disaster zone. “I don’t think there is anything capable of expressing the amount of tragedy and pain this disaster has caused,” he wrote on Instagram.
Palestinian artist Safaa Odah shared this illustration of Syrian rescue workers celebrating the rescue of a young girl they have pulled from the rubble. She captions the image: "Bless the arms, it's as if they were holding a trophy." More than a week after the earthquake, the odds of finding survivors are low given the freezing temperatures in the region but news of rescues continue to surface more than eight days after the quake.
Turkish artist Aysun Ozguler chose to depict one of the most tragic and well-known scenes of the aftermath of the earthquake; that of a father holding the hand of his 15-year-old daughter who had died trapped in the debris of a collapsed building. The photo, which featured on front pages across the world, was taken by AFP photographer, Adem Altan. Mesut Hancer’s daughter Irmak was in her bed when the earthquake struck Kahramanmaras.
This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.
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