Awareness and Prevention Through Art (aptART) is a non-governmental, not for profit organisation set up to promote awareness and prevention of issues affecting children’s lives. AptART is an organisation of artists, activists and educators engaging vulnerable children in art. Through workshops and murals youth are empowered with an outlet to express themselves, build awareness and promote prevention about issues affecting their lives.
AptART visited the Azraq Refugee camp and spent quality time with children who arrived without their parents. Children arrive at the camp alone due to numerous reasons; Some children lost their parents in the war, others lost them in transit across the border and some have parents than can not or no longer wish to care for them.
The children, to keep them safe, are kept in an area and are not permitted to leave this space until they are either 18 or they are reunited with their parents. The space is in the desert camp with stark white pre-fabricated containers. The place didn’t look too inviting… that is until aptART, with support from International Rescue Committee (IRC), paid them a visit…
“Together with Fintan Magee, Jordanian artist Suhaib Attar and the kids, we painted their space. We covered every bit of white space with colour.” Samantha Robison Founder
After the project in the refugee camp, Fintan painted a wall in Suhaib’s neighborhood of East Amman. He painted one of the children that had been helping. Fintan titled the piece ‘THE EXILE’. Inspired by Syrian children confined to refugee camps in Jordan, Fintan Magee painted a girl who had lost her parents fleeing Syria. Alongside a fading reflection of her past life she gazes into a future that is unknown.
“Jordan has absorbed more refugees than almost any other county. With almost 3 Million from Palestine, 1.4 Million from Syria and 200,000 from Iraq over half the country’s population is from a refugee background.
The first wave of refugees in the country were Palestinian who fled their homeland during the creation of Israel in 1948. Most of the Palestinian’s in Jordan are now permanently settled and are allowed access to public services and healthcare, as a result, the areas that were once refugee camps have been transformed into urbanized neighbourhoods surrounding the nation’s cities.
This wall, painted in one for these Predominately Palestinian neighbourhoods is a portrait of a young girl who escaped Syria with her three brothers. The brothers and sisters are currently in the ‘un-accompanied minors’ section of a refugee camp, a small orphanage for children that arrived with no parents or other family. This girl was the most outgoing of all the girls there, leaving the private girls-only section everyday to play football, socialize and speak to her brothers.
I was surprised by how many people I met in the camp had rejected resettlement in other countries as they felt that if they left the camp their homeland would be lost for them, choosing instead to wait out the war in the hope that they could return to their homes. Almost everyone I met dreamed of returning to Syria over anything else.” Fintan Magee
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Photos courtesy of Samantha Robison and aptART.org