From April 15th until May 4th The Hague Peace Projects organized together with sixteen artists the art exhibition “The Survivors” in Atrium City Hall The Hague. The sixteen artists responded each with a unique art piece on the drawings of a Syrian boy, Taim Safar. By means of this chain reaction, the exhibition aimed to build a bridge between the story behind the drawings of Taim and the Dutch Society. Overall, it can be said that it was a very special exhibition that created an interesting dialogue on peace and conflict.
The start to this exhibition were the drawings of the eleven year old Taim Safar. Taim is one of many kids that grew up in a war zone in Syria and were forced to flee. Since Taim reached the age of six he makes remarkable drawings with powerful lines. Metaphorically, his work reflects the war he witnessed with his family and their refuge to Turkey. A pirate ship flies above the city that echo’s helicopters throwing bombs in his hometown Damascus. Arrived in Turkey, Taim’s drawings mirrors houses that are shrinking and… there is a compass. Is he lost or looking for a destination?
Taims drawings came to the Hague Peace Projects by his former art teacher in Damascus, Bassam Alkhouri, who also contributed an art piece to the exhibition. Other artists that collaborated in this project were: Saskia Burggraaf, Eva Murakeözy, Rik Smits, Airco caravan, Albert Zwaan, Wouter Willebrands, Leonard van de Ven, Malou Cohen, Rutger van der Tas, Hanna de Haan, Suzanne Somer, Helen Hintjens, Jakob de Jonge, Robert Roelink and Alexandra Arshanskaya. The artists’ work showed great variety: sculptures reflecting Syria today from different perspectives; a video showing refugees’ new home in the Netherlands; and several paintings, from a ‘Broken Family’ to Bashar al-Assad as the ‘Slaughterer’.
The exhibition started off with an official opening with speeches of the initiators of this project and Anwaar, a member of the Syrian workgroup of The Hague Peace Projects. While having a look at the paintings and having a chat, people could enjoy the music from the AMN band, performing Arabic songs. During their concert, visual artist Alexandra Arshanskaya presented a live performance. By realizing our project we strived to create a dialogue among the Dutch society about the war and about what it means to leave everything behind and leave your country, especially as a kid. We aimed for the audience to think about peace further away and at home.
It bears mention that the exhibition was partially funded by a crowd funding initiative of the Hague Peace Projects, along with a contribution from Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland. From now on, the art pieces of the artists are for sale. The money gathered thereof will be used to develop an art workshop program for young refugees and Dutch children in order to work towards integration through art and communication. If you would be interested in pursuing one of the art pieces, please do not hesitate to contact us.