I have been following the recent migration of millions of war refugees into Europe, specially Germany, where my adopted family has been very active in helping Syrian families adapt to a country that has offered great help, but as we know, faces also many challenges during the process.
As a visual artist and art educator, with a long experience in working with immigrant families in Los Angeles, I made a proposal this summer 2017 to work for three weeks with German and Syrian families in a small town called Waldeck, Hessen, in Central Germany. The idea is to create channels of communication between people through art.
Art transcends language and culture, it enables us to communicate our deepest feelings and thoughts through universal symbols and has an intrinsic healing quality. In the process of making art together, involved families will have the opportunity to exchange stories, ideas and dreams, get closer and create a better understanding of each other.
Throughout three weeks family members from young to old, will explore different art techniques and convey personal stories onto canvases made out of paint, prints, fabric appliqués and embroidery. These canvases will be sewn together and will cover the house made out of a wood structure, the House of Dialogue. It represents symbolically the resilience of a new home filled with stories.
This metaphorical house will be traveling hopefully through different towns in the Hessen region, and will be open for people to share a cup of tea or a piece of Kuchen, and can come together in a dialog, embracing our similarities as well as differences.
This is part of a larger project that I would like to continue in different parts of Germany, as well as back in Los Angeles, where the issue of immigration has become even more vulnerable in the recent months.