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Exhibition Review: From Syria with Love @ ONCA Gallery

Syria is in trouble and they need our help. That was Baraa Ehsaan Kouja’s message, with organizing the exhibition ‘From Syria with Love’. 

In this three day long exhibition we could see Syrian children’s artwork from Lebanese refugee camps, showing that these children have dreams, talent, and that we should not let this generation get lost.

Since 2011 the situation in Syria has been getting worse. We should note that Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. More than 11 million people have been killed or forced to leave their homes. Lots of people live in refugee camps in unacceptable living conditions. Just in Lebanon, there are about 1.3 million refugees living in the camps. They are not just adults, but children; children without education, parents or security.

Baraa Ehsaan Kouja, a Syrian student, Lily Worth, and Peter Tamkin, who are local residents, exhibited around 50 prints of drawings made by Syrian children, aged between 12 and 18.

As Baraa said: “These paintings show something of the awful reality that Syrians have endured, but also their dreams. I have lived in Exeter for a year, and have met many wonderful people working for the relief of refugees, both at the university and in the town. This exhibition compliments that work by showing the real experiences of real refugees”.

In the presentation by Baraa he talked about the situation in Syria, answering the questions why people live in these camps, why they make their way to Europe and what life is like in Syria from the inside.

In the basement we could watch a documentary from the Al-Abrar refugee camp, featuring the lost youth, their hopes and future plans, and we can see with our own eyes the circumstances they have to live in.  

Some of the works were very optimistic, hoping for a new future where peace can finally reach the country, but others reflected the trauma that these children experienced. We can agree with one thing, children should not draw pictures of tanks, blood and people in pieces. We can clearly see on the pictures, these children had to grow up too early. Children are seen playing on one of the pictures, then war starts and people die. This exhibition carries a message for all of us, about love, support and humanity: Save the future, save the children of Syria!

From Syria with Love was on show at ONCA Gallery from 06/02/16 – 08/02/16.

Written by Csenge Krokovay

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