Monument(2017) | Manaf Halbouni Archived


7 JULY – 28 AUGUST 2022

Monument was realised in 2017 by Syrian-German artist Manaf Halbouni. The work originally referred to the war in Syria, where a widespread image in the media showed civilians in a city environment hiding behind three buses. The buses had been put up as one of the many barricades in the city to protect civilians from snipers.

With this art project, Stichting NDSM-werf not only draws attention to the war in Syria, but also to the Ukraine, and does not want to lose sight of other conflict areas and citizens and victims. Thus Halbouni’s ‘Monument’ connects the voices from Syria with those from Ukraine and other warzones in the world. For Halbouni, the work stands for hope, freedom and humanity.

Curator Petra Heck: “War situations, crises, refugee flows; the attention paid to them ebbs away as soon as the news is taken over by other newsworthy events. Manaf’s work from 2017 referred to Syria and Syrians. And is still topical when you think about the reception in the Netherlands, for example, about the unequal situations that arise with different refugee flows, about who can work immediately and who cannot? And there are only more refugees like the ones from Ukraine now. The balancing buses stand proud, fragile and at the same time powerful with their noses upwards, in order not to forget war zones and victims, as Ama van Dantzig called them: like a ‘highway to heaven’.”

Read our interview with Manaf Halbouni


Halbouni’s project is presented in the programme series ‘(Un)monumenting’. The central question in the series is: What should or could a monument be today, and for whom? For this programme, the foundation invites makers and artists to reflect on this question by creating or presenting a (temporary) work on the site.

Share your photos with us using #MonumentNDSM and #UnMonumenting

‘Monument’ was first exhibited 7 February – 3 April 2017 on the Neumarkt in Dresden in front of the Frauenkirche as a project of Kunsthaus Dresden for ‘Am Fluss. On Cultures of Ankommens’.


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