Diesen Samstag findet in Berlin das Crowdfunding-Festival ONESPARK statt, auf dem u.a. JUST sein Projekt bewerben wird, bei dem es darum geht zwei Berliner Street Artists in ein Refugee-Camp im Norden Iraks zu bringen. Vor Ort sollen mit den Kindern aus dem Camp Workshops statt finden und ein grosses Mural gemalt werden. Die Dokumentation der Aktion soll anschliessend in Berlin ausgestellt werden, um wiederum Aufmerksamkeit für die Geflüchteten aus Syrien und dem Irak zu generieren. Das Projekt in Irak/Kurdistan läuft in Kooperation mit der im Irak ansässigen NGO RISE-Foundation.
Wer das Projekt unterstützen will, ist für den 13.9.2014 gern zum Platoon in Berlin-Mitte eingeladen.
++ Goal ++
Enabling two street artists from Berlin to visit a refugee camp in Iraq, to teach children and paint a large mural on a fortress wall. Showcasing the work at an exhibition in Berlin.
++ Description ++
This project will enable two well known street artists from Berlin to visit a camp for Syrian refugees in Northern Iraq, that was erected in a fortress that was once used to be one of Saddam Hussein’s notorious torture prisons.
Together with kids living in the camp, we want to conduct art workshops and paint a large mural on one of the outer walls of the fortress at the end of a weeklong stay – the somewhat gloomy place really is in need of some more cheerful colouring!
We will take photos and make videos and bring back pictures drawn by the children and their teacher, a Syrian artist and school teacher who also lives in the camp. To wrap the whole thing up, we will organise an exhibition in Berlin, aiming to raise awareness for the plight of the refugees, who fled from the ongoing war in Syria to neighbouring Iraq.
++ Background ++
Despite the ever present images of death and suffering in the media there there is nothing as powerful and persuasive as children’s drawings of planes dropping bombs or burning houses. Those paintings drawn by refugee children from Syria were shown to us by the local NGO Rise Foundation and the Syrian artist who herself had to flee the violence in her country.
The children and their families live in a former fortress and prison that hosts about 1,600 of the more than a million refugees in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Being supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the local population, food and shelter are taken care of. What the children suffer from most is boredom and little or no real chance to deal with the trauma of war – especially not within the walls of a former prison where torture and killing used to be daily routine.
For now, the Rise Foundation, the Syrian teacher and the kids do their best, painting away against the grey concrete and the dark cells they call home, probably for years to come. It only took a few months for the project to have a real effect on the kids: They began changing the motifs of their drafts: away from headless bodies and attack helicopters to ducks, monkeys and mermaids, things that really should be the content of any 10 year old’s fantasy.
++ Plan of Action ++
During our first visit the children and their teacher made it clear to us that once food and shelter are being taken care of, it’s the hearts and minds that need healing and nurturing – for kids and adults to keep going and fend off impending despair.
Right from the beginning, we knew that we wanted to support the project. However, we don’t want to impose our ideas of what we think is best for them, but want to support what they have already started. They came up with a way not only to improve their home, but also to address some of their traumas.
Besides supporting the project with expertise and material we want to start a two way process: During our first visit in June 2014 the children and their parents told us that they want the world to see what is going on in Syria and Northern Iraq and what their living conditions are, they want their voices to be heard.
Thus, we want to bring back art, photos and videos that document the project as well as the daily lives of the children and their parents and use our means to make their plight public in an exhibition in Berlin and a catalogue outlining the project and displaying the art.