Resistance

"Resistance", Acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2017

"Resistance", Acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2017

«Resistance» consists of paintings that are suppose to bring awareness to the topic of freedom of speech. The paintings are painted as stencil portraits of world known freedom fighters, on a messy background, with a large black stroke over the face.

When I was in Bahrain during new year 2016/2017 I knew that there was conflict between the regime and the people. People have been imprisoned and killed for their utterance. There are apparently not many signs of this conflict, other than the brick walls filed with spray paint. In every alley there are stencil portraits behind large, black paint strokes. However, the strokes are small enough to reveal the identity of the portrait. This shows a hopeless conflict, where the visual expression becomes more valuable than anything else.

The portraits in the streets of Bahrain, show people that have been imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured or killed by the regime. The portraits are painted anonymously by locals and do not stay long on the wall without the authorities painting over it. The sensational is that there are clearly no attempts of removing the portraits, only marking it as something illegal. At the same time as the strokes gives a message that the portraits are unwanted, the message behind the portraits gets even stronger. The portraits, partly covered with painting strokes in the streets of Bahrain, becomes important visual elements, and symbols of the fight for justice. 

«Resistance» is a series that together visualizes the reality of a country. I used the portraits of Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X and Mahatma Ghandi, to illustrate the situation in Bahrain in a realistic way. These are personalities we all know as freedom fighters, these are the personalities we see in the streets of Bahrain. I use these paintings to create awareness about freedom of speech and the importance of visual expression as a powerful weapon.

- Amina Sahan

Photo of graffiti. Manama, Bahrain 2017.

Photo of graffiti. Manama, Bahrain 2017.