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Palmyra: Tug of War, the Agony

In 2015, the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, was seized by ISIS militants. They destroyed centuries-old temples and works of art.

In ‘Palmyra: Tug of War, the Agony’, independent artist Fassih Keiso presents footage of the destruction. Keiso took the footage during two visits to Palmyra. At the time, the city was in a post-captivity state: the Syrian government had reclaimed the archaeological site from ISIS.

The film style is created using a hand-held video camera. The imagery drags our focus across different screens. Each screen has its own augmentations and visual effects by animator Ken Sabry Keiso. The effect of bold monochromatic colour enhances the didactic visual vocabulary of war and destruction.

The soundtrack is a selection from the German experimental band NO.ico.

The video installation was developed with the assistance of the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its funding and advisory body in 2016.

This exhibition features work by Fassih Keiso in collaboration with Ken Sabry Keiso, Noor Sulaiman and fix_007.

Accessibility information

This exhibition includes low-level or disorienting lighting, moving images and sound. Due to the varied sensory experience on display, this exhibition may be a difficult environment for visitors who experience sensory overload.


Counihan Gallery
Phone: 03 9389 8622

Further information

For exhibition updates you can follow the Counihan Gallery Instagram page. You can also go to the Counihan Gallery Facebook page.

This exhibition is in the Rear Gallery.