Oğuzhan Cin’s moving series evokes the everyday lives destroyed and the dreams lost for Syrian children.

Oğuzhan Cin’s moving series evokes the everyday lives destroyed and the dreams lost for Syrian children.

A young Syrian girl peers out of her front door to see her father with open arms, carrying a teddy bear. But if we look past Oğuzhan Cin’s cheery illustration, to the real photograph beneath, we see a battle tank with its turret raised menacingly.

Oğuzhan Cin is an artist based in Istanbul whose Life Without War series is intended to show how the Syrian conflict has stolen children’s dreams.

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“The intervention into the lives of innocent people and the killing of children who have done no sin made a huge impression on me,” Oğuzhan tells Huck.

Taking genuine press photos as his starting point, his playful yellow lines reinsert merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels and ordinary family life into pictures of rubble, destroyed buildings and social collapse.

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“I wanted to show the devastating effects of war on the people, visually,” he explains. “Where children play war, I wanted my work to show people life.”

As we near the end of the fifth year of the conflict, we’ve become sadly accustomed to seeing images of destruction from Syria. Oğuzhan’s series breaks through that resignation, to remind us how much ordinary Syrians have lost: a generation of children have grown up knowing nothing but war.

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“Of course [I have a responsibility],” Oğuzhan explains. “A human tragedy anywhere in the world calls on the duty of every artist and guides their hands. I meant to draw from the heart. I’m blessed, in a way, feeling the effects of war on people.”

See more of Oğuzhan Cin’s work.