This series was originally created as a prayer for a friend I lost in Syria in 2014, who was killed for being an animal activist and a true lover of peace. While I created this series as a tribute to her, I later realized that her tragedy symbolizes the calamity that faces all of Syrians, and of Syria itself. That’s why I named this series “Requiem for Syria.”
With the Turkish Sufi performer Alper Akcay and a white pigeon, I shot the photos of this series in 2014. It took me a year to finish all the six works of these series. During the shoots, Alper entered a state of trance in which he freely redefined the series.
The technique used in the series is a hybrid between photography and painting. It starts with drawing the sketches of the artwork, then taking the photograph that will be the centre of the artwork. When this is completed, I then draw the texture layers and the arabic calligraphy, if needed. This process might be executed on the photograph itself or separately. Finally, I scan everything and flatten all layers digitally to make the final printed result.
“Requiem for Syria” is not about war, it is about peace. Peace is the way of nature, war is man made. This series portrays the minimalism and impartiality of Sufism and nature, and above all, of humanity. The project can be described as a last, lone breath of a drowning man.
Khaled Akil was born into an artistic family and is the son of established painter Youssef Akil. Born in Aleppo, Syria, Khaled graduated from Beirut Arab University with a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Science in 2009. After graduating, the self-taught photographer returned to Syria just prior to that nation’s Civil War, where he sought to discuss the nation’s complexities through his artwork.
Khaled boldly examines some of the most difficult issues facing contemporary Middle Eastern society, and in particular, addresses social, political and sexual contradictions. His work is a “hybrid of photography and painting” and is pregnant with layers of ancient scripts and symbols, exemplifying the intricacies of modern-day Syria, as seen in The Unmentioned (2011) and Legend of Death (2013) series. Since 2009, Akil has held several solo shows in Syria and abroad in London (2012) and in Istanbul (2013), where he has periodically resided during the conflict at home.