• Elias Zayat, Deluge: The Gods Abandon Palmyra, 2011–12, acrylic on canvas, 12' 3“ × 5' 8”. From: “Syria: A Living History.”

    “Syria: A Living History”

    Aga Khan Museum

    Visitors entering the Aga Khan Museum’s “Syria: A Living History” exhibition first encounter Deluge: The Gods Abandon Palmyra, 2011–12, a twelve-foot-tall, multipanel acrylic by Elias Zayat. A tempestuous image of shared flight, the painting evokes present-day Syria’s cataclysmic violence and the predicament of its refugees while simultaneously alluding to a richly layered multicultural heritage; flood stories are found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Qur’an, and the Old Testament. The work thus sets the tone for the exhibition as a whole, which provides a counternarrative to recent media depictions

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