Painting Syria, building lives
Crouched on the sidewalk, young Syrian children paint with their hands, drawing tanks and airplanes – a sad reminder of what they have witnessed over the past year and a half. Alongside, Aram – a Syrian graphic designer – finishes a collage of extracts from Arabic-language newspapers, portraying a child and how politics affects children’s lives.
Further down the Corniche, Aida, a young Palestinian teacher, draws the various predicaments encountered by Syrian refugees – from the bombs to the camps.
The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword, and this is what the young activists at AidSyria seem to believe.
Over the weekend their “We Want to Build Life,” an interactive art workshop, saw more than a dozen artists painting on the Corniche, attracting a stream of passersby.
Bystanders were also encouraged to participate. Carine, a Syrian studying at AUB, started her evening jog on the Corniche only to end up painting the Aleppo Citadel for a few hours.
“They said I should paint about Syria, about what I wish for Syria,” she said. “I want to see my beautiful citadel again. Not bombed, not destroyed.”
The original intention of AidSyria was to raise awareness and sell some of the paintings to fund other projects.
Organizer Rima Tanani said although they did not make any sales, this has turned out to be a positive thing.
“We received many donations, but people wouldn’t take the paintings, saying we deserved to keep them and use them in other events,” Tanani said. “They were very generous.”
The money raised will be used to purchase basic supplies for refugees and to fund AidSyria’s other projects. Currently their main project is to offer psychological support for child refugees to help them cope with what they have been through since the beginning of the conflict.
Perhaps the pen and the brush may prove mightier than the AK-47.