Around a week ago, Libyans celebrated the first anniversary of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. It’s certainly been a turbulent year for Libyans and although the future isn’t as certain as some would hope, thousands took to the streets to celebrate the new start they fought so hard for. Indeed, this chance for more open and democratic Libya is already leading to creative projects. Using bullets, tanks and burnt-out cars collected from abandoned military bases, Libyan sculptor Ali Al-Wakwak is recreating life from the weapons of death.
Al-Wakwak began work on his numerous sculptures during the revolution. From birds, small animals to a huge dinosaur (which is meant to represent the Gaddafi regime), he wanted to remember the ugly side of history. He explains that we must accept what has been broken, the ugly but that we must integrate it into something new too. Indeed, Al-Wakwak’s work is about transformation without forgetting – you can see a beautiful bird but also that it is made out of charred metals, bullets and wire. It’s also a highly collaborative project, with sometimes as many as ten people working to bring the sculpture together.
Speaking to Mashalla News, Al-Wakwak also talks openly about the impact the Gaddafi regime had on him and the seven years he spent in prison for refusing to go to war in Chad. “They put me in the military prison Abu Slim because I refused to go to war and kill people. I was lucky not to be tortured, but I spent years in a small cell together with seven or eight other people, without books, without anything.”
Al-Wakwak continues, “My son was also in jail. He is 27 now, when they caught him seven years ago he was so young. He hadn’t done anything wrong, the only thing he did was praying a lot. But he’s not an Islamist, only a devoted believer. Gaddafi was afraid of those. He was tortured in prison of course, they all were. For four years, I didn’t see him. After that I could visit him once every three months. It was only now after the revolution that he came out of prison.”
The largest sculpture that he has worked on is ‘The Dinosaur’ which is 35 metres in height. Al-Wakwak explains that it represents the Gaddafi regime in so much as it’s old, heavy and also now extinct. He adds that hopefully the Arab Spring and the revolution in Libya will inspire others to fight and overcome their very own ‘dinosaurs.’
Images via Ali Al-Wakwak’s facebook page.
For more green news from Libya see:
Iraq and Libya For Eco-Seeking Bravehearts
Gaddafi Could Use Water As Weapon of War
Subsidies Jeopardize Renewable Energy Projects In Middle East