A few months ago I spent some time volunteering with Syrian refugees in Budapest, Hungary. The memory of the experience is forever imprinted in my mind. So much so, that whenever I come across news to do with the refugee crises, I am compelled to read it through the lens of someone who has spent hours talking with these brave souls about their unimaginable journeys from what were once their homes and safe havens.
I recently came across the work of a Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr. Hailing from the historical Syrian port city of Latakia, Nizar’s latest works of art are based on pebbles and stones found in his town of residence. A recent corpus of his work is based on the theme of the Syrian refugee crisis – a situation quite literally close to his heart.
Nizar’s work “transmits the pain of the people who have to die, to suffer, to leave the country, but also… a hope for the revival of the country, the return of human values – love, home, family.” I believe his pieces of art speak louder than words; his work is painfully accurate in its portrayals of the emotions and physical tribulations that refugees have to endure.
The incredible power of Nizar’s wordless visualisations of human suffering and migration due to war are made even more poignant by the fact that they are made from Syrian pebbles and stones. Nizar himself is a man of a few words, saying on his Facebook page, “”I love the dust and stones from Syria. My message is a humanitarian message.”
I leave you to absorb a few of his works.
Saneeya Qureshi © 2016