Syrian artist's bus barricade pays tribute to Aleppo

Syrian artist's bus barricade pays tribute to Aleppo
A Syrian-born artist has stood three buses on their ends in a square in the German city of Dresden to evoke the suffering of civilians in Syria's war-torn Aleppo.
2 min read
07 February, 2017
"Monument" comprised of three passenger buses placed vertically like sniper barricades [AFP]

A Syrian-born artist on Tuesday opened an eye-catching installation in Germany - three passenger buses placed vertically like sniper barricades.

Dubbed "Monument", the mega-sculpture in the eastern city of Dresden aims to evoke the barricades set up in the war-torn eastern city of Aleppo and the suffering of the people of Syria, the birthplace of artist Manaf Halbouni.

The artwork symbolises "peace, freedom and humanity", the 32-year-old, who is also a German citizen, told national news agency DPA

"There is no other political message. It's a peace memorial, a modern Statue of Liberty."

Using two mobile cranes, it was set up ahead of next Monday's annual memorial day that recalls the World War II bombardment of the Baroque city that killed some 25,000 people on 13-14 February 1945.

While many mark the anniversary by remembering the suffering the Nazi regime inflicted on the world, far-right revisionists have used the day to paint Germany as the victim of foreign aggression.

The artwork is erected outside the rebuilt Frauenkirche church, itself a symbol of rebirth from war.

Dresden-based Halbouni said "Monument" is meant to instill hope, both in Dresden and Aleppo, and signify that "life goes on, despite all the destruction".

"I wanted to show people that reconstruction is possible," he told The Associated Press.

As the installation was set up on Monday, city mayor Dirk Hilbert Hilbert hailed Halbouni's artistic statement as "important for the city".

But Dresden's far-right Pegida movement - short for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident - dubbed the project "idiotic".

Anonymous criticism posted online has been far harsher, and police have investigated death threats against supporters of the project, including the mayor who has been assigned police guards.