Glasgow & West Scotland

Syrian refugee children's art reaches Glasgow

Women looking at art Image copyright Edinburgh Dreams
Image caption The exhibition was presented in Edinburgh before coming to Glasgow

A collection of 166 drawings and paintings created by Syrian refugee children has been put on display in Glasgow.

The Najda Now foundation encouraged young children in Beirut's Shatila refugee camp to put their experiences of revolution onto paper.

The Light Against Darkness exhibition will be shown at St Mary's Cathedral on Great Western Road from 21-30 November.

Pollokshaws Methodist Church will then host the exhibition from 1-10 December.

The Children's War Museum and the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre originally brought the works from Beirut to Scotland.

The paintings have alerady been shown at several venues in Edinburgh.

Image copyright Edinburgh Dreams
Image caption Brian Devlin hopes to forge links between Scottish schools and refugee children

Brian Devlin, founder of the Children's War Museum, struggled to find space to exhibit the works in Glasgow as his organisation does not have a base there - but the campaign paid off.

Child's eyes

Mr Devlin said the idea behind the Children's War Museum was to communicate children's experience of global wars through their own voices.

Telling their stories through art work means the language barrier is eliminated.

Najda Now, a relief and development humanitarian organisation working with Syrian refugees, helped the children created the works.

They depict the brutality of war as well as memories of families and homes left behind through a child's eyes.

Brian Larkin, coordinator of the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, commented on the progression from black and white drawings - showing helicopters, tanks, armed men shooting unarmed men and bleeding bodies - to the colour and vitality of homes, farms, animals, flowers and self portraits.

He said: "The whole thing moves from the darkness and trauma of war to the light of the return to happiness and life."

Image copyright Other
Image caption The Light Against Darkness exhibition shows the experience of war through a child's eyes

For Mr Devlin, the pieces are poignant because they are so relatable: "Somebody who was putting it up said 'my grandchildren could have painted some of this work'."

Mr Devlin wishes to encourage Scottish children to make their own art, and forge links between their schools and children in Beirut.

Mr Larkin said that the Edinburgh students who visited the exhibition were moved enough to contact the refugee children.

He said: "They wrote letters back to the kids in the Najda Now programme. One boy wrote: 'I am sorry for what you have been through. I can't imagine what you have been through'."

The works will continue their journey by travelling to Paris and Germany before being auctioned off to raise money for Najda Now.

But for the artists, still living out their childhoods in Shatila refugee camp, the future is not as bright.

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