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Reception for Exhibit of Iraqi Refugee Children’s Murals at Albany Public Library

March 23, 2009 @ 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EDT

Reception for Exhibit of Iraqi Refugee Children’s Murals at Albany Public Library. The murals painted by Iraqi children and teenagers are currently on exhibit on the second floor through March 27. In September 2008, young Iraqi refugees recently arrived in the Capital District participated in a one-day mural painting workshop with American artist/teacher Claudia Lefko and Iraqi artist Thamir Dawood at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. They created five murals on canvas depicting their thoughts and feeling about having to leave their beloved home country in a time of war and upheaval.

The exhibit if co-sponsored by the Albany Public Library, the Sanctuary for Independent Media, the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange, USCRI and the Iraqi Refugee Project.

The Iraqi Refugee Project is a coalition of Women Against War, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Women’s Association for Family Affairs whose goal is to support the needs of Iraqi refugees locally and internationally through direct assistance, advocacy and education about the issue.

Claudia Lefko is the director of the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange in Northampton, MA. In the last seven years, she has made two trips to Baghdad and two to Amman, Jordan where she and her Jordanian and Iraqi partners work on making art with Iraqi refugee children and their families. Each time, she takes art supplies and pictures created by children especially for other children. Thamir Dawood has collaborated with Claudia on a number of projects. He was born and educated in Baghdad. He fled with his family from Iraq in 2004. His work has been exhibited throughout the Middle East, in Japan and the USA. 

The young Iraqis who painted the murals are part of a community of about 75 Iraqi refugees who have been resettled in the Albany Capital District over the past two years. They come here mostly from Jordan, Syria and Turkey, where they fled to escape the violence of the war in Iraq. There are currently an estimated two million Iraqi refugees living in countries neighboring Iraq in the biggest refugee crisis in recent history.

The reception gives the Iraqi refugees and American participants a chance to prepare for a two-day painting workshop (March 27 and 28), which is the next stage of the art project. The final murals created from the Capital Region will be displayed in Egypt next year as part of United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization “Decade of Peace and Nonviolence Among Children” international exhibit, The Miles Mural Project.

3361 6th Ave
Troy, 12180 United States
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