Mosaic Syria are a small international team based in London who provide urgent humanitarian assistance, such as shelter, medical aid, food and clothing, to those who need it most inside Syria and among the refugee communities in neighbouring countries.
Since 2011, Mosaic has taken part in several cultural initiatives to help raise awareness of the plight of Syrians and raise funds for immediate relief. Mosaic was the sole charitable partner of Reel Syria 2012, a UK-wide Syrian arts festival.
Mosaic Syria & P21 Gallery present #withoutwords, an exhibition showcasing fine art and visual installations from emerging Syrian artists influenced by the desperate humanitarian situation in Syria and the struggle of their people for freedom. Taking place at London’s P21 Gallery and open to the public from June 27 until September 01, the exhibition features a mix of paintings, photography, metalwork, installations, political cartoons and sculptures.
Some of the exhibited work has been smuggled out of Syria and will be exhibited abroad for the first time. Other pieces have been collected from Lebanon or Jordan or made in the refugee camps of Turkey. Political cartoonist Ali Ferzat, Syria’s ‘artist of the people’ and Time Magazine’s ‘100 most influential people of 2012’, will be visiting the exhibition in August to discuss the impact of his work in Syria and within the wider context of the Arab uprising.
Over 20 of Ali Ferzat’s cartoons will be on display including some of his early drawings originally published in state run Syrian newspapers. In early 2011, Ferzat received international media attention after being viciously attacked by pro-regime thugs and forced into exile, forbidden to continue his craft having begun depicting Assad and his regime in his satirical illustrations.
#withoutwords features, in the main, a younger generation of artists stationed across the Arab world and Europe, many of whom studied in Syria and have since departed.
Culture has long been a major preoccupation of the Syrian state, which encouraged writing, painting, sculpture, filmmaking, and other art forms. In spite of, or perhaps because of, this official emphasis on culture under Hafez Al-Assad, Syrian artists and writers complained that they could scarcely breathe.
In 2011, school children from Deraa did something unheard of: they spray-painted a wall with the words ‘THE PEOPLE WANT TO TOPPLE THE REGIME’, an act for which they were arrested and tortured. Widely disseminated through online media and social networks, this piece of graffiti marked the beginning of popular and peaceful protests across the country. In the early months of the 2011, during these demonstrations, new art and cartoons, songs and mobile-phone films became commonplace acts of defiance across the country.
#withoutwords explores the function of art, as a force for change and a way of galvanising wider public opinion. Mosaic Syria’s aims are to consolidate the work of Syrian artists both in Syria and outside; and help develop an understanding of the significance of art in the promotion of peace and stability in a conflict and in post-conflict Syria.
In August, Mosaic Syria will host a public auction of the works on display with funds raised shared between Mosaic Syria’s aid relief work and the artist.
Featuring: Ali Ferzat, Amjad Wardeh, Fadi Al Jabour, Hamid Sulaiman, Hazar Bakbachi-Henriot, Jalal Maghout, Khaled Abdulwahed, Lens Young Collective, Momtaz Shouaib, Philip Horani, Ramez Bakir, Ronak Ahmed, Samer Saen Eldahr, Tarek Tuma, Zaria Zardasht, and Anonymous