Juman Barazi

Power Relationships

Acrylic, 2016

The title of my art piece is “Helpless”. I feel as though this title captures the tense and powerful mood of my painting. It is also meant to expose the idea behind this piece, which is the devastation in Syria in light of recent events concerning Syrian refugees. The figure in this painting replicates my eight year old cousin, Adam, who is currently living in Syria. My artwork is meant to expose the situation that Adam and many others are currently going though. Although my cousin is a very smart and talented child, his potential is being crushed simply because of the geographical area he was born in.

Moreover, I decided to portray him behind barbed wires in my piece to emphasize the idea that he is trapped and completely helpless. This is true due to the political unrest in countries such as the U.S whereby they are not allowing any refugees to enter the country. The main elements and principles in my piece are value, line, and emphasis. The focal point in this piece is the child’s face. The first thing that the viewer sees when looking at this piece is my cousin’s eyes. In addition, there are many lines portrayed in this piece including the barbed wires and the lines on the jacket sleeves. These lines create movement and make the piece more visually interesting. I also created value in this image by creating shadows and exaggerating areas of light and dark. This is shown underneath the child’s fingers as well as on the left side of the face where the shadows are very prominent. I tried to place light areas right next to the dark shadows to create contrast in the work of art. Looking at this artwork, I would like viewers to think about the struggles that many innocent Syrian children are faced with today. I would also like viewers to put themselves in these children’s shoes to understand the devastation that they are faced with every day.

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