From the Power of Colors to Empowered Communities: Refugee Camp Transformations

 

This is part of our special feature on Sustainability & Innovation.

Aligned with a focus on collaboration as the nucleus for sustainability, inclusion, and transformation, this curated series highlights artistic innovation in refugee camps. The art produced at Zaatari, one of the world’s largest camps in the Jordanian desert with about 100,000 residents, starkly contrasts the area’s bleak and colorless landscape where life appears an endless Waiting for Godot. Art not only functions as the accelerator for community growth, but, in this case, it also serves as a catalyst for community dialogue and partner-building that leads to shared cultural and human experiences. The images presented focus on artist Joel Bergner’s extensive refugee camp work with Syrian children and adolescents in Jordan as well as with refugee communities in Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.
–Nicole Shea for EuropeNow

 

Mural by Joel Artista with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in 2014. Dimensions: 3 x 18 meters. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

Mural by Joel Artista with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in 2013. Dimensions: 3 x 15 meters. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

Refugee Youth Joel Artist: Mural by Joel Artista and Ali Kiwan with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in 2014. Dimensions: 3 x 32 meters. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

 

Detail from mural by Joel Artista with refugee and immigrant youth in Cologne, Germany in 2015. Dimensions: 6 x 3 meters. Partners: Park Inn hotel and Anna Stiftung Youth Center.

Mural by Joel Artista with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in 2014. Dimensions: 6 x 3 meters. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

 

Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan participating in a mural project with Joel Artista. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

Mural by Joel Artista with the participation of Syrian youth in the Za’atari Refugee Camp in 2014. Dimensions: 5 x 32 meters. Partners: aptART, Mercy Corps, UNICEF and ACTED.

Mural by Joel Artista with refugee and immigrant youth in Brussels, Belgium, 2015. Dimensions: 5 x 20 meters. Partners: Park Inn hotel and local youth organizations.

Mural by Joel Artista with refugee and immigrant youth in Cologne, Germany in 2015. Dimensions: 2 x 4 meters. Partners: Park Inn hotel and Anna Stiftung Youth Center.

Mural by Joel Artista with refugee and immigrant youth in Malmö, Sweden 2015. Dimensions: 4 x 7 meters. Partners: Park Inn hotel and Fryshuset.

 

Joel Bergner (aka Joel Artista) is a community-based muralist and educator who specializes in large-scale collaborative public art projects with youth and families in vulnerable communities across the world. He is co-director and co-founder of the organization Artolution, which seeks to establish arts-based programming led by local artists in refugee camps and other marginalized communities around the world. Each mural is designed and painted in partnership with youth and local artists, and includes individual participant expressions. Through collaborative art-making, refugee children explore their hopes and dreams for the future of their families and their country; address the trauma and displacement that they have faced; and connect to positive adult role models in their community. In Jordan, Joel worked with aptART, Mercy Corps, ACTED, ECHO and UNICEF, while in Europe he partnered with Park Inn by Radisson hotels and local youth centers in each city. Artolution is currently planning further programming in the Middle East this summer.

Nicole Shea ran CenterArts Gallery in Newburgh from 2009-2012 and later incorporated her arts experience into the leadership training at West Point. In 2015, she founded a large-scale sculpture walk outside the gates of West Point, which she has been curating together with the founding members of Collaborative Concepts in a community effort to revitalize the area via the arts. She is also Executive Editor of EuropeNow and Director of the Council for European Studies.

 

The images presented here are not transferrable to any THIRD PARTY, and are not to be printed, published or used in any way for any other article, publication or marketing event without prior written consent/agreement.

 

Published on June 6, 2017

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