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Art exhibition by Syrian and Palestinian women

15 October 2018

Join us in Dublin and Cork for an exhibition of powerful art work by Syrian and Palestinian refugee women

shatila paintings

Paintings by Fatima, Sahar and Farida. 2017.

Join us for a special exhibition in Dublin or Cork of paintings produced by Syrian and Palestinian refugee women residents of Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon.

Painting was used as a way of helping these women, who have been driven from their homes by conflict, to cope and adapt to life in the refugee camp. 

When: Sunday 21st October, 1.00 - 4.00pm
Where: Cobh Parish Centre, Roches Row – Cobh – Co. Cork
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When: Thursday 25th October, 5.30 – 8pm
Where: The Complex Arts Centre, 15 Little Green St, D 7
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“This was the first time that I painted. I discovered that I am good at it, and through this experience, I realised that I can go further. When I paint, something changes, it feels like a getaway.” - Reem, 2017.


“If there is one thing I would like to be mentioned about myself, it is that I sacrifice myself for my children. This was the first time that I painted. I am very happy that I created these paintings. Participating in the painting sessions was one of my first chances to receive education – I never learned how to write.” - Farida, 2017.


“There are three versions of myself: the present one, the sick one, and the old one. I still don’t feel as strong, as healthy, and as well psychologically as I used to before the events. I would like to get tougher. But I am on a good way. Originally, I am from Golan. I come from a Bedouin family. This is the one part of my identity which nothing can erase.” - Fatima, 2017.


“When you are sitting and painting, you forget yourself, you forget all your troubles, you don’t think about anything. You think about how your painting is going to turn out. You become one with the painting. If I am going to keep thinking about what happened, I will never be able to pick up a pen. But I am able to create something. If I put my mind on it, then I can create something new.” - Sahar, 2017.

Home to an estimated 40,000 refugees, Shatila is a refugee camp which occupies a small one square kilometre site just outside Beirut. It's residents have been driven from their homes by conflict. Daily life there is extremely challenging, particularly for women.

Trócaire’s local partner in Lebanon, Basmeh & Zeitooneh, provides psychosocial support to women, girls, boys and men. As part of their project, they encouraged women to express themselves through art. 

Clinical Social Worker Nibal Al Alo describes how this project came about: “I had been working with a group of 16 women in the psychosocial support group, using storytelling techniques to support them to create a safe space and support each other. At the end of the group cycle participants expressed that they would like to continue this process of support and reflection by doing something creative together.

"They selected the theme ‘the experience of coping and adapting to life in Shatila’. It was important to them that this be a space for concentrating on their current life and experience, rather than focusing on what had happened in Syria.”

These powerful paintings have been exhibited in Lebanon and are now coming to Ireland for the first time.

We hope you can join us at the events in Cork and Dublin. 

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