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Artist at large

Meet Molly Crabapple, whose illustrations show Syrian life under ISIS rule

By WITW Staff on September 26, 2015

Molly Crabapple’s illustrations have given an artist’s perspective on places like Guantanamo Bay, Turkey, Abu Dhabi Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and Palestine. She first started illustrating protest with Occupy Wall Street in 2011, then the Greek financial crisis and anti-austerity protests in 2012 by way of “Discordia,” a book she produced with Laurie Penny. In the summer of 2014, she began working with writer Marwan Hisham, who obtained cellphone images from Iraq and Syria to show life under Islamic State rule, which Crabapple then illustrated. The pair’s work was featured in Vanity Fair this summer and, from a refugee camp in Domeez, Iraq, the illustrator spoke with PBS Newshour about the importance of sharing images of war-torn spaces, especially those countries often kept invisible to the outside world. “While very brave locals get photos out, they are taken surreptitiously, not with the craft a photojournalist could bring,” Crabtree explained. “I wanted to get out images from an ISIS area, and invest them with the beauty and clarity art can give.” She feels committed to giving those living under ISIS rule a voice, adding, “Living under ISIS rule doesn’t necessarily mean you are pro-ISIS.”

See more of her work and read the interview at PBS Newshour.