Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Syrian graffiti artist draws hope in Za'atari refugee camp

Features | 2019-08-11 00:29:04
Syrian graffiti artist draws hope in Za'atari refugee camp
   Syrian graffiti artist Mohamed Jokhadar
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Everything in the Zaatari refugee camp at the Jordanian border is yellow and gloomy, the sand and tents, and the people’s exhausted faces. Only the graffiti of the Syrian artist Mohamed Jokhadar that decorate the makeshifts shelters, in try to create joy and bringing hope.

Six years ago, during the siege of the revolting Bab al-Sebaa neighborhood in central Homs city, Jokhadar, 33, had fled to Zaatari refugee camp, seeking an escape of the daily bombing.

Jokhdar tried to go back to painting in the desert camp, but he struggled in finding art supplies, as they were expensive. However, he was able to overcome this problem by using wooden residues to make frames for his paintings and used leftover cloth from the tents.  He labored, pouring his suffering on the paintings, documenting what was happening in the northern provinces of Aleppo, and Idlib, and the Eastern Ghouta suburbs near the capital.

After a period in Zaatari, the graffiti artist started many artistic projects in agreement with humanitarian organizations working within the camp, including drawing murals along the perimeter of the camp along with the sectors that included the project.

The 30-year-old artist painted several UNICEF sites in Zaatari and Azraq camps. He trained a number of children and youth in the camp in special courses. He is currently working with Mercy Corps, which integrates children with disabilities with non-disabled children in education, working with them to teach them to draw.

Jokhadar’s ideas draws on the surrounding reality, drawing murals on water awareness, education and heritage, and highlighting that "the most pressing topics for him are heritage and the introduction of traditional inscriptions in several works."

Jokhadar expressed his appreciation of encouragement of those around him as an incentive to continue this art, especially the children as he always gives them the opportunity to draw what’s on their minds, conveying their dreams on these murals.

Because of the desert conditions in Zaatari and the factors of nature and time, Jokhdar’s murals do not last long as they are painted on a metal surface, but this – as he emphasizes- does not affect his enthusiasm, because he will redraw them again, painting new themes, too.
Zaman Al Wasl
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