With hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into Europe over the summer, the conflict in Syria has garnered worldwide attention and sparked controversy over the often-inhumane treatment they've received. But 2,000 miles away from Syria, on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, men, women, and children living in the tiny nation of Yemen have endured more than six months of daily air strikes from a military coalition formed by neighboring Saudi Arabia. As a result, more than 2,000 Yemenis have died since March 26, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs—all without the rest of the world paying much attention.
Now Saba Jallas, an artist based in Yemen, is using photos of bombing-related smoke to create fantastical before-and-after images that offer a sharp contrast to the violence. Jallas transforms plumes of black and gray smoke into a cherub playing a violin or into a child wearing a panda backpack. Or, in one of the more terrifying images, the smoke morphs into a fire-breathing monster.
The violence has nearly destroyed Sana'a, Yemen’s capital and the second-oldest city in the world. Living conditions across the country are so bad that in August Peter Maurer, the head of the International Red Cross, told The Associated Press that “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.”