Life’s challenges often bring out a rush of emotions. Keeping them bottled up can do more harm than good. However, finding an authentic, healing way to express these feelings is vital. This is the story of Ryan Altounji, an illustrator and animator from Syria, who discovered the transformative power of art during one of his life’s most tumultuous phases.
The Little Things
In 2021, due to the ongoing turmoil in Syria, Ryan faced a heart-wrenching decision: leave his home country to avoid a seven-year mandatory military service that would derail his budding career. Making matters more complex, visa complications meant he couldn’t immediately join his wife, who had to move ahead of him to Dubai.
During this emotional whirlwind, Ryan felt a cacophony of feelings: anxiety, hope, despair, and even thoughts of ending his life. Seeking a lifeline, he began a cathartic project aptly named, “Journey of Emotions.”
This art project wasn’t just drawings on a canvas. Each illustration became a window into Ryan’s soul, reflecting his mental state during that period. Some showcased his profound bond with his wife, illustrating how she was his beacon of light amidst overwhelming darkness. Others laid bare the pain of their separation, like the piece where his character’s hands crack while clutching a light, representing the agonizing moment of his wife’s departure.
Yet, amidst the chaos, there’s hope. The series culminates in an artwork where his character, though free-falling into uncertainty, feels a strange sense of satisfaction.
Everything Will Be Alright
Lost At Sea