Celebrated Syrian artist and exile, Sara Shamma, holds an exhibition in London showing art inspired by the conflict in Syria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A major solo exhibition of paintings by Syrian artist Sara Shamma has opened in London, showcasing a vivid collection of portraits inspired by her experiences of the country's war. "World Civil War Portraits" is a collection of works portraying faces, young and old, who have been displaced, tortured and killed. "The main inspiration is the war that is happening now in Syria and which is spreading everywhere from Syria to Yemen, to Egypt, to France and Copenhagen," Shamma told Reuters. "These paintings are about the dead people -- 200,000 to now ... I want to bring these dead people to life. I want you to see them, look through their eyes, to feel their differences, to defend their differences because they deserve to be alive." Born in Damascus in 1975, Shamma was one of Syria's best known artists before the conflict began in March 2011. She fled the country with her two children in 2012 after a car bomb exploded outside her flat, moving to Lebanon where she produced her latest work. Her husband still lives in Syria. "I think that this war (is) now reaching Europe ... I think that this war if it is doesn't stop right now, it will reach you in a way, so I don't want to say that I'm optimistic," she said. "I think I'm realistic but I can't see anything optimistic in the near future." The war, now in its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people, according to a U.N. estimate. More than 1.5 million have been injured, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict. "World Civil War Portraits", presented by StolenSpace Gallery, runs until May 25 at London's Old Truman Brewery.