"Women of War": Paintings Summarize Years of Oppression and Pain

Painter Yara Hasko to Majalla: I Was Affected by Syrian war, So I Try to Convey the Suffering of Women

Painter Yara Hasko
Painter Yara Hasko

"Women of War": Paintings Summarize Years of Oppression and Pain

Behind each of her paintings, there is a story. This is the work of the young painter Yara Hasko, who hails from the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin, but resides in Aleppo, which she was forced to live due to the control of the Turkish army and armed groups supported by it over her city in northwestern Syria, from which hundreds of thousands of its original inhabitants were expelled since the control of Ankara on Afrin in March 2018.

A Painting from “Women of War” Series by Yara Hasko. (Supplied)

Hasko did not leave Syria despite the war that the country has been witnessing for nearly a decade, and she intends to draw the faces of many women. She says that she aims, through these paintings, to convey the oppression of women, as well as to show their strength, especially when she draws the faces of Kurdish fighters defending their country.

The 25-year-old painter started developing her drawing talent more than 5 years ago, and her paintings were of a different nature at that time before she was displaced from her city due to Ankara's control over it.

Hasko is currently raising the banner of "Women of War" in her paintings to express her anger and sadness at the scenes of the ongoing conflict in Syria that followed the protests that erupted in the country in March of 2011.

A Painting from “Women of War” Series by Yara Hasko. (Supplied)

Women occupy the largest part of the young painter's work, especially since they live in difficult conditions full of oppression, but they are nonetheless "beautiful and elegant despite all their attempts to hide their anxiety and fatigue," she said.

Hasko is a witness to the Syrian war, which left the greatest impact on her paintings, and also contributed to the formation of her artistic personality, especially after the Turkish army launched a large-scale military attack on Afrin, the city in which she was born.

The young painter has memories that seem as harsh as the cruelty of women's faces in some of her paintings, in which she says that she tried to show the beauty of women despite sadness and oppression.

Hasko recalls her first painting of the "Women of War" series, which she began working on some time ago, after the killing of the Kurdish fighter, Sawsan Berhat, in a Turkish air raid in the Syrian town of Tel Tamer. She called this painting "The Martyr".

A Painting from “Women of War” Series by Yara Hasko. (Supplied)

"I drew it because Sawsan was an influential person and influenced me personally when she was martyred, as I saw the people's love for her. This was the main motivation for me to create the “Women of War” series, through which I try to send sincere messages of the amount of pain experienced by women in Rojava,” (which is the Kurdish name for the predominantly Kurdish autonomous region in the north and northeastern Syria)”, she explained.

She also added: "When I was drawing or reading books about art or aesthetics, I feel a state of absolute freedom, and that gave me the energy to bear the burden of life and be able to be balanced and study with poise. Simply put, the more I paint, the more I study, the more I succeed, the more I miss drawing, and so on."

With regard to her work as a painter or engineer, Hasko cannot choose between them or make her final decision and her better place between the two places, especially because her practical experience is recent through her participation in the Women’s Exhibition in the Syrian city of Qamishli for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020. However, she can unite with her paintings for hours and merge with colors with high professionalism to reach the final form that impresses the sincerity of her feelings, anxiety, and fear after the difficult scenes she experienced in the last ten years of her life and prefers to engineering drawings that require laptop programs and craftsmanship in drawing shapes.

A Painting from “Women of War” Series by Yara Hasko. (Supplied)

The painter also had a short experience for only three months in the world of sculpture and the formation of different shapes that absorb the imprint of her personality and relieve her suffering and pain, but she was forced to stop due to the lack of a suitable place for that, considering that sculpture needs space and special tools for it, while her simple studio was and still is a part from her room inside the house.

Memories from the core of the spiritual reality of things, which is evident in Hasko’s work, which continues her life in Syria despite the war, and it is something that also created a special world for her in her artistic journey to express herself and the sadness and oppression she endures in her paintings, each of which bears a story of a woman from her country.


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