German-Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni was born in Damascus to a Syrian father and German mother. He studied at the Damascus art school and has lived in Germany since 2009. Manaf has exhibited and undertaken commissions throughout Europe, including Nowhere is Home, a co-commission by Counterpoints Arts and the V&A in 2015, and What If?, a residency with Deveron Arts in Scotland in 2017, in which he worked with the local Syrian community to turn the tables on the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement.
In 2017, Manaf unveiled Monument, an installation consisting of three 40-foot high upturned buses, based on a picture of a barrier erected in Aleppo to protect civilians against snipers. Monument was met with protests from far-right groups, but received huge support by those who understood its meaning as a symbol of suffering as well as of hope for reconstruction and peace.