Andو is a new digital commissioning programme that aims to support and share the work of displaced Syrian artists, giving a voice to artists who might otherwise struggle to produce work at this time.
Launched by the British Council in partnership with The Space, the Andﻭ programme works with artists whose work explores or engages with the ongoing conflict in Syria and the surrounding regions, as well as the displacement of millions of people and the continuing plight of refugees around the world.
The 2015 programme celebrates established and emerging Syrian artists, their compelling stories of the past and present, and their hopes for the future. It also aims to connect Syrian artists to each other, and to create links with international audiences and art institutions. Andﻭ is part of the British Council’s ambitious Artists in Recovery programme, developed in response to events in the MENA region. The Artists in Recovery programme also includes the exhibition Syria: Third Space, which you can see online here.
The British Council believes that arts and culture are vital to prosperous, secure societies, and that offering international cultural connections and experiences strengthens their resilience. We foster collaboration; share arts work with the world; build resilience and creative responses to crisis; shape policy; and develop skills and livelihoods.
The artists supported in the first phase of the Andﻭ programme are: Raja Bnout with Roots; Samer Eldahr with Shahba; Mohammad Al Issa with When Al-Furat Sings; Hussein Haddah with Refugee Cats; Al-Baraa Hadda and Alaa Khweled with Faces from War; Issam al-Hajjar with Neither Red nor Grey; Ameer Khoury with an untitled work; Ahmad Naffori with an untitled work; Essam Rafea and Kvork Mousad with Barbed Wire; and Bashar Zein with Resurrection.
The group, who include social activists, visual artists, electronic artists, musicians, composers, photographers, film-makers and the Principal Conductor of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, are all Syrians currently living abroad. The works are a mixture of music, dance, photography and video art, and explore themes including death, displacement, heritage, humanity and the psychological impact of war.
The British Council and The Space have given these artists creative freedom to generate new work that reflects their experiences. Any opinions expressed through these works are solely those of the artist.
This commissioning programme was curated by Ruth Mackenzie and Gregory Nash; and produced by Maria Bota and Abdulhamid Qabbani.