Syrian Refugees Plan Art Exhibitions Abroad

Mohammed Al-Amari My Grandmother (2014) Photo: Mohammed Al-Amari via NPR

Since fleeing Syria’s civil war last winter, elementary school art teacher Mohammed Al-Amari, his wife, and their newborn child have been residents of Za’atari Camp, a tent city for 83,000 Syrian refugees in the Jordanian desert, NPR reported.

When he isn’t teaching art as a volunteer in the refugee camp, he’s capturing the bleak environment in his paintings.

Uncertainty and waiting are the most prevalent themes in his work. Al-Amari explains that his portrait subjects are “waiting for a moment when they can return to the life as it was, when it used to be beautiful.”

We hope that the future will be more beautiful. But at the same time I feel the abyss. The path could also go for the worse,” he told NPR.

Far from getting caught up in nostalgia, for Al-Amari and his fellow artists at the refugee camp haven’t given up their passion. “We haven’t stopped [doing] what we love,” he says. The artists have utilized the materials available to them, creating murals on the sides of tents and have already organized four exhibitions at the camp.

In the future, the artist has ambitions to exhibit the camp’s artists’ work internationally to spread the refugees’ message. He has plans to exhibit in Jordan’s capital Amman, and in California.

A fellow artist named Mahmoud Al-Hariri told NPR, “Through our art, we’ve worked on sharing so many messages, trying to help life in the camp to improve, get word out about what’s happening in Syria, show the pain one feels as a refugee, show sadness and devastation inside the country.” See also 2014 Saw Horrific Damage to Syria’s Cultural Heritage.

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