Regarding the Pain of Others

2013, wood, variable dimensions

Installation view, ‘New Frankfurt Internationals - Solid Signs’, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany, 2013.

Regarding the Pain of Others carries the legacy of an object heavy with history, pain and meaning, paying tribute to the marks of its journey, transformation and stories conveyed by the wood it was made of.


Using only the object’s original materials – its wood and rusted nails – this symbol of the utimate life-death transition was itself transformed into a chair, a throne: the ancient and universal seat of power, now sign of dignity restored.


With the help of a Sheikh from the city of Da’al and many others, the na’ash (a bier,

an open casket or funerary stretcher) was smuggled out of Syria and cautiously

zig-zagged its way to Jordan, where it was dissembled for shipping before finally arriving, many months later, to Germany.


This process of metamorphosis resulted in an excess; leftover planks, dust and nails remain as a part of the installation, a small testament to the 135 bodies it carried to the grave.

The stories that were told and shared along the way also became a part of the project

– the accomplices, of their own volition, recorded videos of themselves reciting poetry alongside the original na’ash as it found its way out of Syria to the border of Jordan, and uploaded them to Youtube.

This is my story:

I am the humpbacked machine

My blood, my tears and my heartbreak

This is the humpbacked machine –

Its wood cut from the green trees of Da’al

This is the humpbacked machine –

That has taken 135 martyrs to the martyrs’ cemetery

This is the cradle that conveys our people to the life of the grave

It carries, on its back, our children:

Amjad, Alma, Sna’a

It carries the men of the Free Syrian Army:

Nabil, Hussam, Moaead and Taher

It carries women:

Frial and Umm Nabil

Look at this coffin

It is perfumed with drizzling blood

Listen to it

I swear, you can hear sounds of crying and screaming

What coffin is this?

The one that weeps after the funeral of the innocents

What coffin is this?

The one that feels consciousness die in the bosom of the people

Da’al, Mother of Martyrs