A Syrian Story
published 2018 • 6 ½” x 8 ¼” • 288 pages • fully illustrated b&w
"With the intimacy of a person who has lived the tragedy himself but with the restraint of a true artist, Hamid Sulaiman tells a powerful tale of Syria's descent into cataclysm while reminding us of those still tending the seeds of the revolutionary spring."
"If you want insight into the complex situation in Syria, read this book. It provides a stark vision of life in a war zone but, like Freedom Hospital itself, it never loses hope."
"Hamid Sulaiman's shocking inside story of an ongoing people's revolution against one of the world's most brutal regimes is eye-opening, explosive and utterly necessary. The chiaroscuro-heavy artwork, more dark than light, seems drawn in Sulaiman's heart's blood."
"This eye-opening graphic novel is a powerful and moving introduction to the realities of the war in Syria. Sulaiman s stark black and white artwork brilliantly conveys the moral, political, and emotional shades of gray rarely shown on the news."
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Winner English PEN Award
It is spring 2012 and 40,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian Arab Spring. In the wake of this, Yasmine has set up a clandestine hospital in the north of the country. Her town is controlled by Assad's brutal regime, but is relatively stable. However, as the months pass, the situation becomes increasingly complex and violent. Told in stark, beautiful black-and-white imagery, Freedom Hospital illuminates a complicated situation with gut-wrenching detail and very dark humor.
The story of Syria is one of the most devastating narratives of our age and Freedom Hospital is an important and timely book from a new international talent.
Hamid Sulaiman is a Syrian refugee currently based in Paris. He was heavily involved in the Arab spring and spent time in prison, but managed to escape to Egypt before making his way to France. Freedom Hospital was published in France to wide acclaim.
Hamid has exhibited his art in London where he was interviewed by the Guardian: "The brutal crackdown on Assad's opponents dominates the paintings of Hamid Sulaiman, from the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border, who fled abroad in 2011 after being arrested several times for taking part in peaceful protests. On one canvas, Light after Dark (2012), abstract flesh-colored bodies huddle shackled and blindfolded in a basement corridor of the security police headquarters in Damascus, where the artist was once imprisoned. Now living in Paris, Sulaiman said the single shaft of light that illuminates the scene symbolizes the desperate hope prisoners cling to. 'Hope of the light after of all this darkness is the thing that keeps you sane. I was not tortured but I saw people getting tortured and I heard their screams. I lost many friends under torture including my best friend, and I can feel their hope of the light even one moment before they died.'"
After the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, a photo of him and his girlfriend kissing under a sign saying, "Love always wins," went viral.
“Urgent, cogent and compelling… Freedom Hospital is genuinely shocking at times, but Francesca Barrie’s impressive translation also finds the black humor that tends to have a natural home in graphic novels… Yes, Freedom Hospital is a must-read, but its tone, mood and form somehow make it as entertaining as it is informative and thought-provoking. A graphic novel might just be ‘the’ piece of creative writing to come out of the horrifying mess that is Syria in the 2010s.”
“Heartbreaking and funny, tender and troubling; this is a vital piece of art about the great humanitarian tragedy of our age.”
“Sulaiman’s stripped back black and white art reminded this reader of both the work of Marjane Satrapi but also more broadly 2000AD (this must be in the future, your mind shrieks, it can’t possibly be happening now, on the same planet I’m on)... as a piece of work it’s to be applauded... a story that deserves to be read.”
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