Winter is here in full force and 3 million Syrian refugees are struggling to keep warm. This past week alone 6 refugees froze to death, 4 of them children. Besides harsh cold and inadequate shelter, refugees face other miseries. We talked with some of Syria’s most active artists who revealed more painful truths about the refugee crisis and how they’ve interpreted the plight of a nation with their art.
“Especially in winter, the refugee tents become freezers for humans. Our refugee crisis now, is the biggest shame of humanity, which every one is responsible for. Displacement affected my family: One time there was heavy shelling on our area, so they had to leave everything and go somewhere else. The experience was horrible and very ugly according to them, even though they fled to another area within Syria, not outside.”
“I’m a Palestinian who lived in Syrian refugee camps since I was a child and I know exactly how it feels to be someone forced to leave his hometown. I was also on one of the death boats to Europe and I know exactly how a person has to make a choice and escape from a hopeless death and be filled with hope of reaching the promised land…
In this painting I was drawing the journey of death and how the way of escaping war can become your grave. I wasn’t miserable enough to experience the sorrows of the tent and the bitter cold the Syrians are experiencing now in their refugee camps in neighboring countries. Those people are even going through a deprivation of the ‘dream’ of riding one of those death boats. We need an on-going narration of the sufferings of the Syrians…we need millions of voices…millions of larynxes to shout about the pain of the Syrian against the oppression they’re facing…”
“This commemorates one of the death boats bearing the number 6/9. All aboard this boat destined for Europe died. I wanted to put them in proper graves.”
“The refugees represent the full picture of the Syrian crisis and they are the ones who are paying. I visited them many times and I slept inside the tents that do not keep out the heat or the cold. There you die a thousand deaths everyday. You cannot go to the bathroom, eat or take a shower. Who do you think pays the price??
It’s them and the detainees of course! I always think; imagine that you’re living in a tent and you have zero hope of going back home or even back to live in a small house, this is how they feel. Every human on the face of earth should try to sleep in a tent at least once.”
“I was born in al-Yarmouk camp for the Palestinian refugees in Damascus.. a little boy who knew at a young age that he was a refugee. Our dream was a homeland… a country.. the same country that is everyone’s simple right… we have a bigger dream that shadowed the majority of our smaller dreams.”
“The three different times I’ve been a refugee have given me an obsession and a positive motive to work more and pass on the message of a population that for three generations has been registered as either a refugee or without identity.”
“In this artwork you will see the Syrian mother and her kids traveling alone to the unknown future without her husband, he might be killed or he is detained or kidnapped. They are leaving their destroyed house and their scattered memories in this long road.
I’m trying to tell the people whom live their lives in peace and dignity, freedom and safety to feel our pain and to help us to stand again for life.”
“What inspired this piece were too many drowning accidents happening as Syrians tried to escape the misery to find a better life.
Actually, it’s the world’s fault in the first place, that led us to such unreasonable decisions of fleeing by death trap boats. People will keep trying to get to Europe, even under the risk of drowning, because they have nothing to lose.”
“The refugee crisis has affected all of Syrians. I feel like I am a new person. I left all my things, but I am ‘lucky’ to have made it to Dubai.”
“This piece is about how the camp or the tent in the refugees camps has become an aim or a huge dream to catch for those displaced. It’s just a long marathon to reach them.”
“The most important thing about refugees is that there is no place to go back to. This is what this piece embodies.”