We dream of a home without borders

We dream of a home without borders
'Hope' by Nissa Riyas, showing a young refugee girl looking at beautiful butterflies through a barbed wire

Dubai - The Workshop in Jumeirah showcased artwork from 16 international and local emerging artists promoting, illustrating the resilience and strength of displaced communities through art.



By Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 11 May 2017, 10:38 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 May 2017, 12:48 AM

It was an art exhibition that voiced the concerns of the voiceless, the refugees. The Ajala Project, held an exhibition titled 'Home Without Borders' highlighting the issue of displacement across Middle East and Africa. The Workshop in Jumeirah showcased artwork from 16 international and local emerging artists promoting, illustrating the resilience and strength of displaced communities through art.
The painting that brought back a painful memory reminding us of the plight of refugees was that of the lifeless body of a young boy washed up on a beach.
"Titled 'The Bliss of Paradise', my artwork shows the little Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who was washed ashore while fleeing his war-stricken country along with the many other refugees. To lessen the agony and to console his unfortunate death, I believe he is roaming now in the Gardens of Paradise. Islam believes that the infants go to heaven after death, in which are the colours of spring. In paradise they are not barred from any place and can enjoy the infinite bounties provided to them in their final home - a home without borders." 
British artist Natasha Hall's painting titled 'Roads to Paradise' depicted colourful birds of paradise that are unlike any birds in the world.
"Birds are famous for their bright and beautiful colours - their unique dances, poses, and their rituals have fascinated humans for centuries. Yet habitat loss is their greatest threat to survival. The birds of Paradise symbolise the beautiful and unique cultures of displaced individuals and how these people can positively impact and contribute to the world. Just as birds of Paradise (and all living things) have right to a home, every person should have the right to safely live their lives to their full potential. The thread and nails in the painting represent the journey and route taken by displaced individuals in search of a safe place. It almost forms a cage around the birds symbolising that despite living without borders and travelling vast distances, displacement is far from freedom, but rather traps individuals and prevents them from moving forward in life."
"We hope to humanise the lives of the families we see in the media, rather than seeing them as victims of war. Being able to see these families as an extension of our own lives brings to light the resilience of these families in enduring war and conflict," said Narmeen Naser, co-founder of The Ajala Project.
Croatian artist Eugene Varzic comments: "I did not paint Mediterranean tragedy. I simply painted us, ordinary new Europeans suddenly free, without borders within borders. Faces that tell stories. Stories of crisis, the dream of living, and even stories of fear which helped develop today's culture of fear."
Ghada Kunash, MD at The Workshop Dubai, said: "We are proud to sponsor and support The Ajala Project as part of our contribution to our society celebrating the UAE Year of Giving. The Workshop supports young artists and designers through exhibitions and shows in its location. The Ajala Project is helping us connect and reach out to others and we are glad to support this initiative."
Other interesting paintings were Hope by Nissa Riyas, that showed a young refugee girl looking at beautiful butterflies through a barbed wire; Transients by Marwan Karout showing a large suitcase evoking the life dreams of travellers; Shiba Khan's City of Hope; Storytellers by Sapna Jain; and The Peace Valley by Yuvika.
A photography group called Crossroads that comprises of refugees and residents of Thessaloniki in Greece, were also partners for the event alongside The Ajala Project.
saman@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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