Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, more than 4.4 million Syrians have fled the chaos and destruction gripping their country—contributing to the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II.
Our project provides the structure of art programs for school-aged children located in Istanbul, Turkey. Our team consists of artists based in San Francisco and Istanbul-based Syrian artists. We provide all of the supplies, instruction and guidance for the students as we engage them in group and individual art projects in their schools.
What we do
Our project provides the necessary tools (paint brushes, sketch books, paints, basic cameras), and art guidance which allow Syrian school children to paint murals within their schools, create photography projects and express themselves to help heal the wounds of war.
The project is designed to have the children paint their own stories(murals) upon the walls of their schools(beautification), develop a positive self-image through photography projects and integrate within a new society.
We began our project in 2013 by creating artwork(public murals) for Syrian children in San Francisco, Ca. to raise awareness of their plight.
We started directly working with Syrian children in their schools located in Antakya, and Istanbul Turkey, in 2015 and 2016. Our project is run by a former a U.S. military veteran in San Francisco, California, USA and a Syrian artist living in Istanbul, Turkey.
Healing the Syrian Diaspora through art
Our project was created, and is coordinated by two artists with help of a host of volunteer artists, jouralists, activists and community members based in San Francisco, Ca. USA and Istanbul, Turkey.
Our founders are Amos Gregory, an artist, activist and U.S. military veteran. Mr. Gregory is the founder of the San Francisco Veterans Mural Project(Veterans Alley) and has done artwork with miitary veterans, deportees, refugees and poor communities of color both in the United States and internationally.
Mulham Mardeny is a Syrian refugee living in Istanbul, Turkey. Mr. Mardeny has extensive experience working with displaced children as a United Nations volunteer for Somali and Sudanese refugees who were previously living in Damascus, Syria prior to the Syrian Civil War. Mr. Mardeny also worked as a Emergency Medical Technician aiding civilian victims of bombings and shelling in his home country before he left Syria for Istanbul in 2013. In his young 20 years on this earth Mr. Mardeny has witnessed and accomplished things many human beings will never see or do in their entire lifetime.
Who we are
Amos Gregory(left), Mulham Mardeny(right)
Art is an expressive means of communication that every human being possesses. Art is also a very theraputic expression that can help reveal and heal the trauma of war.
With Syrian children experiencing the sights, and sounds of so many tragic events -which they never should never have to- art can be a powerful tool to help them grow in a healthy manner that every child deserves.
Our work with them seeks to accomplish this through direct interaction to help create what their mind's eye sees, and help guide them toward their dreams.
Why we do this
Want to help?
You can help us in three main ways.
1) Volunteer with us
2) Donate materials (paints, brushes, and art supplies)
3) Spread the word of our work with your friends and neighbors.
Please fill out the form to the right to send us a message and we will answer your question promptly. We are fluent in English, Turkish and Arabic and will respond accordingly.
Share our project on your social network
We primarily operate in Istanbul, Turkey. Our project works directly within the schools run for Syrian children. We focus on visual artwork (painting murals, and photography) with an emphasis on storytelling to allow the students to express themselves in an unencumbered and nurturing environment.
We work directly with school administrators, teachers, and many times-parents. We emphasise both group and individual art projects with the students. The projects last anywhere from a few days to several months depending on the needs of each individual school.
All interactions are done with the permission of the Turkish Ministry of Education, the non-profits servicing the schools, the administration and parents.