Syrian Artist Uses Pokémon Go to Create Powerful Images from His War-Ravaged Country

The artist, Khaled Akil, has never played the popular game himself.

From the series “Pokémon Go in Syria,” by Khaled Akil. Courtesy of the artist.
From the series “Pokémon Go in Syria,” by Khaled Akil. Courtesy of the artist.

Since it launched a few weeks ago, Nintendo’s augmented reality game Pokémon Go has caused a bonafide frenzy worldwide.

Embraced by seasoned gamers, Pokémon fans, and newcomers of all ages, it comes as no surprise to learn that Pokémon Go has also captured the imagination of visual artists.

From the series “Pokémon Go in Syria,” by Khaled Akil. Courtesy of the artist.

From the series “Pokémon Go in Syria,” by Khaled Akil. Courtesy of the artist.

Syrian artist Khaled Akil, however, is using the popularity of Pokémon Go to highlight a grave issue: The harsh reality that children living in a war zone face everyday.

For the series, titled “Pokémon Go in Syria,” Akil used powerful images of the conflict taken by AFP photographers and inserted the Pokémon figures that are happily “caught” everyday by gamers in less dangerous places around the world.

“The news of Syria is everywhere, and now the Pokémon Go game is trending,” Akil told TNW. “The mix between these two made me wonder what it would be like to hunt for a Pokémon character among the rubble in Syria, and how a virtual game attracts more attention than the atrocities committed daily in real-life Syria,” he explained.

#Pokemon-Go-in-Syria

A photo posted by Khaled Akil (@khaledakil) on

Akil, who’s planning on continuing the series as the war drags on, has himself never felt inclined to chase a Pokémon.

“I see people playing this game all over the world, but I never played it,” he told TNW. “[The] project is not to blame people for not paying attention to Syria. It is just a spotlight on what is happening there,” he added.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/artist-khaled-akil-imagines-pokmon-ravaged-syria-160722172024059.html

A photo posted by Khaled Akil (@khaledakil) on


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