Regarding the Pain of Others

Installation view, ‘New Frankfurt International – Solid Sign, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, 2013



Regarding the Pain of Others

2013, Wood, variable dimensions


‘Regarding the Pain of Others’ is a projects that transform initial sites of protest and loss into prosaic yet exceptional instances, dislocating heavily laden images and venerable objects through different hands, media and countries, challenging the viewers perception and awareness.


Regarding the Pain of Others was a complex endeavour that required smuggling a na’ash

(a bier, open casket or funerary stretcher) out of Syria. With help of a Sheikh from the city of Da’al, and other willing supporters, the na’ash cautiously zig-zagged its way through Syria to Jordan and eventually, over months, arrived in Germany. Using only the object’s original materials – its wood and rusted nils – this symbol of the utimate transition, from life to death, was itself transformed into piece of ancient furniture, a specific symbol of power. The process of metamorphosis that converted the na’ash itself into a fallen throne resulted in excess; planks and dusts that 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 reciting poetry with the original object as it found its way out of Syria to the border of Jordan, where it was to be disassembled for shipping, and uploaded them to Youtube.



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



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