Eleven artists and cultural figures are exploring how art, in particular their artistic practice, can support dialogue and resilience among refugees and communities in Lebanon as part of Create Syria, a joint project by International Alert, the British Council and Ettijahat - Independent Culture.
The war in Syria and resulting refugee crisis has placed strains on displaced Syrians across the region but also on relations between host and refugee communities. Create Syria is using art to open up opportunities for dialogue and artistic collaboration with Syrians, Lebanese, Syrian Palestinians and other communities.
From filmmaking and choral singing to puppetry and animation, the participating artists have been busy implementing a diverse and innovative range of community activities across Lebanon, all inspiring hope for a collective future without violence.
Meet the artists by reading their stories as they are published below, and find out how they are working with children, youngsters and upcoming artists across local communities to inspire creativity in times of conflict.
“Art presents the good and beautiful things in life; when it’s presented, it encourages people to do the opposite of violence.”
Boushra, community arts organiser
“I decided that I needed to work with the society, the real society, not the elite.”
“I thought I would come back helpless, but the opposite happened. People were laughing, telling stories about their suffering.”
"Art is a process of dismantling society and putting it back together again.”
"I believe in peace. I believe that war will end and we need to be prepared for cultural reconciliation."
"I would lay out all my pain, fear, fatigue, happiness, and excitement on the canvas and start throwing in all sorts of colours."