Syrian artist Wael Issa Kaston has been murdered by government security forces, according to activists in Homs.
Kaston, a Christian, died under torture, noted the U.S.-based Syrian Expatriate Organization spokesperson Sawsan Jabri, who said the murder refutes the Assad “regime's repeated claim that they protect the minorities.”
In a statement sent from West Bloomfield, Michigan, the organization wrote, “The village of Marmarita dressed in black last Sunday in a grief over the martyrdom of their son Wael Kaston, the Syrian sculptor, who was detained in a security branch in Homs and died under torture. His family received his body from a military hospital in Homs. Large crowds of people participated in his funeral from the town and neighboring villages.”
Born in the Homs suburb of Marmarita in 1966, Kaston was survived by his wife, Eva Allati and two sons, Yara, 12, and Nowar, age 7. "Rest in peace, Wael!" saluted a follower on the "Yalla Souriya" website.
His work was shown in a number of art galleries in the central Syrian city, in addition to special exhibitions held in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Much of his sculpture focused on themes relating to “freedom of women.”
The spokesman quoted the artist has having once said in an interview that “he would not prefer to work with 'stone' but loves 'mud' and wood'.' The first is the human being because we emerge from mud, and return to the mud, and the 'wood' because it is the closest to us, born gently, reaches adolescence vigorously, [and] dies wisely...”