Past Syrian civilizations left behind countless sculpted remnants. Islamic culture, though, opposes this specific art form, so for a long period sculpture languished.
When modernization reached the region at the beginning of the twentieth century, sculpture thrived again.
Authority in Syria shifted from a ruling party to a singular individual, and in the period between 1973 and 2000 the statues of Assad Sr. multiplied and became a dominant visual element in the public space. There was not a governmental edifice without a bust or full-body statue of the “immortal leader.”
The purpose behind the domination of these monuments and statues was to influence the citizens’ perception such that the leader came into concrete existence. Rather than remaining abstract or imaginary, he became a part of citizens’ physical reality.
Novice and veteran sculptors alike have introduced innovations in all forms of the art such as patterns, molding, monuments, stone and iron statues, and ornamentations. Nevertheless, sculpture has not been one of the arts to flourish with the revolution; this art requires a safe space where the sculptor can work and exhibit his or her work.
On the other hand, demolishing monuments and statues became a feature of the revolution. These actions have freed public space from the symbols of tyranny to replace them with monuments to freedom.