In Which Language do we dream?

16 October 2021
Impressions Gallery

We are familiar with the news headlines and the photographic images of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’. But what happens after displacement to those who are resettled and try to rebuild their lives? What about personal stories, and the relationships that form between new friends and new neighbors? And how do people hold on to loved ones and a past life that they had to leave behind? In Which Language Do We Dream? offers fresh insights into these issues, through the photographic perspectives of a Syrian family with first-hand experience.

The overarching questions/provocations of the symposium are:

How might photography ethically represent refugee stories?
How do displaced artists work between cultures and across borders?
Can photographs help change the traditional media narratives around forced migration?

A rich and provocative presentations and discussion by Rich Wiles, Anan Tello, Andrew Jackson, Gohar Dashti, and Ala Busier chaired by Raghad Mardini

The symposium is part of Platforma 6 that is taking place across Yorkshire throughout October 2021, produced by Counterpoints Arts in partnership with more than 20 different organizations, artists and collectives. This biennial festival for the arts by, with and about refugees. It brings together artists, organizations, and others to showcase work, develop networks and capacity, share practice and to learn.

“Home through the Artists Eyes” 9-10 October 2020 London

Litehouse Gallery presents

Contemporary Stories Through Artists’ Eyes

9th – 10th October 2020
At the Freeman Foundation, 235 A Portobello Road, London W11 1LT

This pop-up exhibition is an immediate response to the recent tragic blast in Beirut’s port that destroyed thousands of houses, leaving thousands of Syrian and Lebanese people homeless.

The exhibition will take you on a journey that crosses borders in search of a transnational identity that is multi-layered, at times displaced, yet intact and coherent. The stories and artworks are lyrical metaphors of the artist’s current circumstances, everyday experiences and dreams of homecoming, whilst raising questions about the elsewhere and the space in-between places.

Home is a feeling. Home is a landscape and a vision of our intimate being and desires. Home is co-creating with others a shared sense of belonging. This group show explores these themes with the aim of rediscovering the roots of a common culture, at the same time as offering a place and a space where artists can express their cultural identity and belonging.

Home: Contemporary Stories Through Artists’ Eye is a rare opportunity to view artworks by our Syrian and British artists.

Through the transformative power of art we can transcend dislocation, transform the pain of physical exile, resolve the contradiction of past and present, and overcome instability, dispossession and loss. Home is where the Art is.

Dates and Opening Hours, Private Opening Friday 9th October 2020 @ 6:00-9:00 PM
Saturday 10th October 2020 @ 11:00 AM -8 PM
Venue – The Freeman Foundation, 235 A Portobello Road, London W11 1LT
Entrance from Hayden’s Place
Curated by – Raghad Mardini

Artworks by Artists -¬¬ Shadi Abu Saada, Heba Akkad, Farah Azrak, Tamman Azzam, Adel Daoud, Assem Hamsho, Fadi Hamwi, Mohamad Labash, Ghylan Safaldi, Iman Hasban, Noha Zayed, Chris Ward, Susana Giron.

Photos © Chris Ward And Twiggles_UK

Colours of Syria 14 March, 2019 London

The pop-up art exhibition ‘Colours of Syria’ presents the awe-inspiring natural landscape of Syria in glorious colour. The paintings and collages on display are infused with the essential beauty and energy of this country. Meanwhile, drawings and photographs in rich tones and darker shades give expression to the inner resilience of Syrian people.

Malva’s painting ‘Willow Tree’, in shades of olive, eau-de-nil and ochre, takes us to one of Syria’s verdant valleys, with weeping willow branches trailing in a shimmering river. Akil Ahmad’s more abstract paintings, with their dynamic calligraphic marks in golden beige and luminous scarlet, evoke Syria’s wide, open spaces. One, inspired by a poem by the first-century writer Al-Mutanabi, conjures up a misty dawn, and the other, a sunset. Adib Fattal’s crayon drawings in magenta, hot pink and turquoise, with titles such as ‘Palmyra’, ‘Damascus Citadel’, ‘The Hosn Castle’, depict historic places in Syria. They remind us of the intense play of sunlight on the brightly coloured architecture, and of the pattern-making and exuberant use of colour in traditional Syrian textiles and mosaics.

In luminous black & white photographs by Assem Hamsho, we are presented with his vision of a moment or place. We see the patterns of shadows of people at leisure, the play of light and shade. Jaber Alwan portrays an elegant and beautiful woman, the green and yellow and red of her dress dazzling in the darkness, as she dreams, or imagines, or waits. Of Adel Daood’s paintings, the art historian Clara Kaufmann writes:
“They are portraits of human nature or humanity itself, portraits of felt, sensed, lived and imagined lives. Dauood’s inspiration pieces his pictures together: a foot here, a face there, arms growing out of a vortex of lines, body parts and bright colours.”


The following artists complete the line-up of ‘Colours of Syria’, with artworks that touch on story-telling or allude to intense psychological states via vivid colours and dynamic patterns and lines: Shadi Abou Saada, Hiba Akkad, Farah Azrak, Tammam Azzam, Fadi Hamwi, Mohamad Labash and Gylan Safadi.

‘Colours of Syria’ gives a rare opportunity to view, especially, artworks by Malva and Jaber Alwan in London. Both are prominent artists who have shown widely in the USA and Europe, and who feature in major museum collections; Malva sadly passed away in 2016.

‘Colours of Syria’ is presented by Litehouse Gallery, a start-up online platform linked to ‘Art Residence Aley’, an art residency programme founded by Raghad Mardini in Lebanon in 2012, which supports Syrian artists, including through the promotion and sale of their artworks worldwide. Raghad Mardini, the Director of Litehouse Gallery, welcomes you to this pop-up exhibition of art that she has specially selected with a view to bringing Syrian colour, energy and creativity to London homes. As Ms Mardini says: “Art does not need an excuse to exist, it exists according to its own power, for its own sake, for its miracle of being contradictory to our daily existence, telling us how beautiful we are.”

Homes, Syrian stories through artists’ eyes 05 May 2018 Milano

05.05.2018 – 20.05.2018

Spazio delle culture – Khaled al’Asaad

The cultural association L’Art9 together with the London-based Litehouse Gallery present the artistic festival “Homes. Syrian stories through artists’ eyes designed to give forms and voice to Syrian culture beyond the borders of origin.

In Syria, since 2011, the civil war has caused 5 million refugees. The aim of the festival is to group together the voices dispersed by the diaspora with the aim of rediscovering the roots of the common culture to give a place and a space where to express their strong cultural identity.

After the exhibition “Ahora Cuba”, on the transition and intergenerational dialogue in Cuba, Agnese Gallo and Silva Amoruso, 27 and 28, founders of L’Art9, together with their partner Raghad Mardini, curator and founder of Lithouse in London and of Residence Aley, artistic residence in Beirut conceived for young creatives refugees, have imagined “Homes. Syrian stories through artists’ eyes “to give a place of expression to Syrian artists in transit.

The project is structured as a real journey, organized in stages and with different contents. It is a dynamic project, which involves talents for whom the only constraint remains a non-negotiable identity despite the loss of social anchorages. The stories, performances and works on show will be stories of individuals – megaphone of a dislocated community, in spite of itself, in a global territory. The festival aims to raise awareness not only of history and events that have taken place and tragedies that have marked the lives of many, but also to sustain and to put attention to the projects and future desires of the Syrian people.

Launched with a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, the festival will be organized in several stages: Milan, Venice, London and Brussels. It will start in Milan from the Museum of Cultures, where from 5 May to 20 May will be exhibited the works of: Farah Azrak, Tammam Azzam, Adel Daoud, Araz Farra, Adib Fattal, Manaf Halbanou, Mohammad Labash, Shadi Abou Saada, Mohammad Zaza . The exhibition will be essential, changeable, just like the stages of a journey.

Paper drawings in small format  and video-art contained in a usb stick will be at the center of the exhibition: art works and artistic expressions easily transportable. The exhibition aims to be a theater for the promotion of intercultural dialogue, inviting visitors to participate in the curatorial selection of the exhibition. 

“Homes. Syrian stories through artists’ eyes”

“Homes. Syrian stories through artists’ eyes”
Project launch to the European Parliament, Brussels, 24th April 2018

On 24th April, the artistic festival Homes. Syrian Stories through Artists’ Eyes will be presented at the European Parliament, Brussels, during the second Brussels international conference on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the region”, hosted by the European Union and co-chaired by the United Nations.

The travelling festival was conceived by the cultural association L’Art9 and Litehouse with the aim to give a voice to the Syrian culture.

The panel discussion will be hosted by MEP Silvia Costa and MEP Maria Teresa Giménez Barbat, with the participation of Diego Marani, Cultural Diplomacy expert, European External Action Service, and the artist Manaf Halbouni.

The debate will focus on the role of art as a means of cultural exchange, in particular on the work of Syrian artists currently living in Europe.

Since 2011 the situation in Syria has forced over 5 million people to flee from their homes. The festival Homes. Syrian Stories through Artists’ Eyes aims at echoing the voices dispersed by the Syrian diaspora and exploring the roots of their common cultural identity.

The project is constructed in form of a real journey, organized in several steps and featuring different contents. As a dynamic and on-going project, the festival includes talented artists who share a non-negotiable identity despite the loss of social anchorages.

The featured works will display individual stories, fragments of a community which is scattered across the world.

The festival, curated by Agnese Gallo and Silvia Amoruso, co-founders of L’Art9 and Raghad Mardini, founder of Litehouse, aims at raising awareness about these personal stories and testimonies, while looking towards the possible future of the Syrian people in Europe and elsewhere.

Many events will be held in the framework of this festival, starting from an exhibition at

the Mudec, Museum of Cultures of Milan, Italy (5 -20 May 2018).