Art as a Tool for Peace: Young artists from Syria and Yemen illustrate the transformative...

About the Exhibition

The exhibition features a series of paintings created by a group of young Syrian artists called the Blue Team (Fariq Azraq in Arabic), who have collaborated to illustrate life in opposition-held areas of Syria during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in 2021, the artists produced two exhibitions in Syria – combining art, music, and activities – that offer powerful insights into the daily lives of Syrian displaced and ethnic minorities, and demonstrate how art can bring people together and act as a tool for local peace. Now in Scotland for the first time, this exhibition is an opportunity to view the paintings and hear the stories of these extraordinary young people.

The exhibition also features the work of award-winning Yemeni artist Shatha Altowai, an IASH Artist Protection Fund Fellow. In “The White Canvas”, Shatha addresses issues that she has experienced and observed throughout her life in Yemen, specifically focussing on the last seven years since the eruption of the current war. She aims to highlight the lifestyles of Yemeni families living through the war, their solidarity, and how they seek to overcome the lack of basic necessities, such as food, water, electricity, fuel and security. Her work conveys the contradictory emotions of strength and fear that Yemeni families grapple with as part of their everyday experience.

Together these two sets of paintings offer a unique perspective on life in conflict zones, and on the power of art to bring people together and contribute to local peace.

About the Project

This exhibition is part of a research project supported by the FCDO-funded Covid Collective Research Platform, and forms part of PeaceRep’s work on the nexus between the Covid-19 pandemic, peace and conflict and the interplay between several layers of crises. In Syria, PeaceRep Research Fellow Dr. Juline Beaujouan and two of her colleagues – Abdulah El hafi and Eyas Ghreiz – built on collaborations with local communities in opposition-held areas in the northwest of the country to investigate the shifting role of local civil society during the pandemic.

Learn more about this work

Exhibition launch at the University of Edinburgh, 24 November 2021

Art as a tool for local peace: Reflections of young artists in Syrian opposition-held areas

Young artists illustrate life in Syrian opposition-held areas

Shatha Altowai

The Blue Team