Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 14, 2018

Syrian Refugee Art Exhibit in Gallery G

Erin Brock

Gallery G, located on the second fl oor of the Jo Young Switzer Center, is currently exhibiting artwork from children and adults living in Zaatari, a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. The exhibit, called “Amal – When Hope Endures,” features images that have all been painted on pieces of tent salvaged from the camp. They represent the refugees’ long enduring hope for the future despite the pain of the past.

Refugees spending time in an audiologist waiting room were given the opportunity to paint when doctors realized that not only would it be helpful to have something for each person to do, but it could also benefit the patients when dealing with what they have gone through. “I think it’s a therapeutic way of dealing with trauma while waiting to get help,” says Professor Ejenobo Oke, director of Galleries at Manchester.

Oke said the idea came about while talking to a colleague from the Fort Wayne campus. Dr. Ahmed Abdelmegeed, assistant dean of Student, Alumni and Community Engagement and associate professor of pharmacy practice, helped generously in making this exhibit possible, not only through introducing the idea, but also providing financial support to help with the budget. “I really liked the idea that I was working with my Fort Wayne colleagues,” Oke said. She searches and plans for exhibits as far as two to three years in advance, and when talking to Abdelmegeed, she knew this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

Oke tries to find pieces that fit Manchester University’s mission as well as the curriculum. In this show, she sees a relationship between the artists finding peace of mind through their work and Manchester’s mission of allowing people to become their “best self.” She notes that the exhibit also portrays a global perspective that Manchester values, and educates onlookers not only about the current issues surrounding refugees, but also the personal struggles of them.

“Amal – When Hope Endures” will be held in Gallery G through Nov. 14 before being moved to the Fort Wayne Campus from Dec. 4 to Mar. 21. Visitors may also purchase prints and cards, and the money will go to HearCare Audiology and Hearing the Call Art Initiative.