Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ reimagined in a warzone

Richard Hall
tammam azzam freedom graffiti 150x150cm archival print 2012 edition of 5 courtesy of the artist and ayyam gallery 1024x1024 Gustav Klimts The Kiss reimagined in a warzone


It’s a rare thing these days for a story about Syria to raise a smile, but this one does just that.

This image has been doing the rounds for a few days. The Saatchi Gallery in London shared it on its Facebook page on Friday and it has since gone viral.

It shows Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss superimposed on a devastated, bullet-ridden building somewhere in Syria. The man behind Freedom Graffiti, Syrian-born artist Tammam Hazzam, said his intention was to draw a parallel between “the greatest achievements of humanity with the destruction it is also capable of inflicting.”

The piece is part of a larger body of work Azzam produced in response to the Syrian conflict titled Syrian Museum, which was exhibited in a collection at Dubai’s Ayyam Gallery last year.  Azzam took a number of famous works by painters such as Leonardo da Vinci and Henri Matisse and merged them with recent photos of Syria’s devastated cityscapes.

He told the New York Times: “Each is particularly relevant to what has befallen Syria. Klimt’s The Kiss shows the love and relationship between people, and I have juxtaposed this with the capacity of hate the regime holds for its people.”

Hazzam has been living in Dubai since he and his family fled Syria in September 2011, seven months after the start of the uprising.

He told CNN that he hoped to actually paint the piece on the building one day.

“When I can return to Syria I have vowed to paint ‘The Kiss’ onto Syria’s infrastructure,” he said. “I cannot say if it will be the same wall though, as who knows if it will still be standing.”


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  • Amelius Brown

    Nice story, and very creative, but “The Kiss” is the most overrated painting ever.

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