Australian artist Luke Cornish pays tribute to Palmyra and archeologist Khaled al-Asaad

Damascus, SANA – Driven by the desire to pay tribute to the city of Palmyra and to archeologist Khaled al-Asaad who was murdered by ISIS, Australian stencil artist Luke Cornish traveled from his country to Syria to see with his own eyes the reality of what is happening here.

Cornish told SANA that he visited Syria before last May as a member of Australian athletes’ delegation “Boxers for Peace” headed by Rev. David Smith, notingthat the delegation visited Palmyra a few weeks after the Syrian Arab Army recaptured the city from the clutches of ISIS.

“It was an honor to be able to visit such an important place but also very sad to witness the destruction that had been carried out. I painted the portrait of Khaled al-Asaad in the Amphitheater where he was executed. It was quite surreal having had only seen footage of this place on the internet, of the horrible crimes committed there,” he said.

Cornish added “I wanted to paint this portrait of Khaled al-Asaad to pay homage to his sacrifice, a symbolic gesture of returning his head to the place that it was taken away, a place he dedicated his life, and ultimately sacrificed it, to protect.”

The artist highlighted that the aim of the visit was to build connections between Syrian and Australian people, and to show the real Syria to the rest of the world, adding “We visited Damascus, Palmyra, Homs, and Lattakia, with a few stops along the way. I found the Syrian people kind and friendly and with a generous and beautiful nature. Everybody I met was genuinely appreciative.”

Cornish said he was lucky enough to do some painting with some children in Homs, and later he found out that most of them were orphaned, children or martyrs, adding “with all the adversity I saw in Syria, and for how hard life must be there at the moment, everybody I met was kind, and hopeful.”

Luke Cornish is an Australian stencil artist known for creating unique and powerful stencil images using the process of spraying paint through a stencil to make an image, using multiple stencils layered up to create more realistic paintings

Mr. Cornish won and was nominated for numerous awards in Australia. He also exhibited artwork and painted in many countries around the world including England, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Romania, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands, Cambodia, and now in Syria.

Ghinwa Maia / Hazem Sabbagh

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