Media outlets reported that six Syrian refugee painters held a “joint art exhibition” in the Netherlands, which was widely followed by the public, while the painters confirmed that art is capable of uniting people, despite the abundant differences throughout the world.
The Dutch newspaper “Tubantia” mentioned in a report that the Syrian refugees Barsaum Barsauma, Miray Barsauma, Jack Elia, George Miro, Elias Al-Hamawi and Habib Gawriye, who arrived in the Netherlands several years ago, picked up their artistic lives again in the city of Enschede after they founded last year, the “Syr6” group and presented their work to the public in one of the halls of the “Concordia” Cultural Center.
According to Jet Broekstra and Mark van Loon, two artists and curators from Concordia, it will be an “exceptional exhibition.”
Van Loon says: “What we see in terms of art in Enschede is very beautiful, but it is only Dutch art.” He adds, according to the “Huis aan Huis” website: “In addition to being refugees, they are artists above all else…and in Syria they were all artists as well.” “We often don’t think beyond the fact that they are refugees. That’s why it’s important that they can also practice their profession here.”
Broekstra met the artists at the Balcony Festival earlier this year, and says: “I met them and saw a lot of energy in them.”
The idea of organizing the exhibition was born quickly, and the group named itself “SYR6”.
All six fled Syria, but not in the same year. However, all six ended up in the Netherlands.
Members of the group held individual exhibitions, but also joint exhibitions in several countries such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Syria. Their work has also been shown on television and newspapers in different countries, such as Sweden.
For his part, the Syrian painter Habib Gawriye says: “We called our exhibition: ‘Love brings us together…’ Love of art comes first, but also love for each other. Ask any of us and he will say: ‘Art is a disease that you can no longer recover from…’ Whether you want to or not, you have to go on, even and perhaps especially in this new country… Art is an excellent way to show something of the brilliance of the world from which we have all emerged.”
According to the newspaper, the six refugees find some difficulty in determining what their future will look like, but they are determined to continue their work and find their way in the new country. Jack Elia says: “There are already a lot of differences in the world. If there is anything that can bring people together, then it is art.”