President Trump is probably never going to look like this.
In this painting, a ragged, tired Trump cradles a sleeping child in one arm. The 71-year-old man no longer has the air of the aloof CEO, so fond of firing people. Instead, he looks like a dad — the kind of dad who’d go hungry just to make sure his kid goes to sleep with a full stomach.
The kind of dad you might find in a group of refugees.
The picture is part of “The Vulnerability Series,” a collection of paintings by Syrian artist Abdalla Al Omari.
In the series, Al Omani, a refugee himself, imagines what Obama, Putin, Trump, and other world leaders would look like if they were refugees.
These are not the distant, untouchable, and unknowable politicians you are used to. They look smaller, more vulnerable. It’s that vulnerability Al Omani wanted to highlight, using their tired eyes and obvious plight to return their humanity back to them.
Al Omani’s images have also been seen as a powerful message. Despite the fact that there are 22.5 million refugees worldwide, many countries do not accept refugees.
Including, at least temporarily, the United States. On Monday, June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court decided that the Trump administration could temporarily enforce a limited travel ban. The ban, which bars immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, also includes a 120-day ban on refugees.
Trump has also set out to more than halve the number of refugees allowed in the United States this year.
Of course, the United States is not the only country that has a complicated relationship with refugees or with powerful politicians. Check out nine more paintings from Al Omani’s stunning series:
Former United States President Barack Obama
Russin President Vladimir Putin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
The decision of whether and how to take in refugees should not be taken lightly. But it’s one that affects millions of people.
These leaders have, or had, the power to do something, yet millions of refugees are still unsettled. Some leaders are even making the situation harder. The Syrian civil war, for instance, has created more than 5 million refugees.
There is no easy solution to the refugee crisis, and we need to face the many obstacles and roadblocks in our way to solving it. But it’s also important to remember that these are real people who are being affected.
Maybe these pictures can help remind us of that reality.