pAINTING IN REFUGEE CAMPS | JORDAN
In April 2016 Hannah returned to Jordan to organise an art project with Syrian refugees living in Azraq and Za'atari refugee camps, with the support of Relief International.
The first canvas painted in Za’atari camp was an expression of the children’s experience of war. After various groups of boys and girls had painted, the canvas was an abstract chaos of splashes of red paint, dark colours and drawings of tanks, soldiers, dead bodies and destroyed homes. Only a small glimpse of the traumas they have faced.
Many of the children confessed to Hannah that they did not want to think about or paint the war any more. Therefore the second canvas painted with the children was a vibrant expression of their memories of Syria, inspired by Islamic art and arabesque design.
After a couple of days at Za’atari, home to 80,000 Syrian refugees, the art project moved to Azraq refugee camp close to the Iraqi border. The two canvases painted in Azraq are a reflection of the children’s daily life in the refugee camp. Hannah also painted a mural on one of the new school caravans.
UNHCR ART PROJECT | JORDAN
WORLD REFUGEE DAY ART EXHIBITION
" After hearing refugees’ stories on a visit to Jordan last year, UK artist Hannah Rose Thomas came up with the innovative idea of recycling old UNHCR tents as a canvas for refugees to express themselves. ... The results have been so powerful that the tents are now set to be exhibited in locations across the world. " UNHCR spokesperson
In 2014 Hannah worked for UNHCR as creative director for an exhibition of art projects with refugees to commemorate World Refugee Day.
The goal was to turn the symbols of loss and displacement - the refugee tents - into beautiful pieces of artwork, in order to raise awareness for the plight of refugees.
Hannah's role was to prepare the vision for the tents and travel to various locations in Jordan to organise them being painted by Syrian refugees. Each tent Hannah designed along the three different themes of; ‘The Impact of War’, ‘Memories’ and ‘Hope.’ She drew inspiration from artists such as Klimt and Klee, and the poetry of the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani.
To read a UNHCR article on the art project click here