Greeted by a slim white gown and a table-full of baskets, Refugee Artvocacy immediately portrayed the shining elegance and talent of the featured refugee artists. Yorusalem’s kind eyes beamed with pride as she stood behind her table basket-weaving handiwork.
Looking around the room, a great amount of activity was present. Paintings drew stories on the walls as guests gazed and mingled. Not only was the art rich with reason, so too was each story behind the workmanship.
“Do you like these paintings?” a heavy accent inquired behind me and Andrew (an employee of World Relief). Turning around, we found an elderly Iraqi gentleman standing there with kind eyes eyes shining.
“Yes, it’s lovely!” was our response.
“Thank you very much,” said Mahmoud Al Mammar, as he began to explain the symbolism behind his work. ”I believe everything in this world in connected,” he stated. ”No one is ever alone.” The blue, green, yellow, and grey hues of his painting came together in unique shape–natural pieces to a puzzle joining together to create a whole. ”I hope to portray this unity through a new form of cubism”.
After inspiring us with his perspective, Mammar turned to me “Are you an artist?” he asked.
“Well, yes, I design clothing.”
“Oh. You must be courage…courgous…”
“Yes, courageous. This is hard work. Very difficult.”
“In response to his question, I thought “No, not at all–doubt lately clawing at my mind. ”Well, I try to be,” I voiced aloud.
“I always wanted to be a clothing designer,” he told me. ”In my country it was not acceptable for a man to make women’s clothing, but to me women’s fashion is one of the most beeeautiful things in the world.”
Lifes is…Creative. Connected. Beautiful. Courageous.
I left the conversation encouraged–bright words coming from a man whose dreams were stifled by the bounds of his culture–one who was displaced from his home and forced to find refuge in a strange land. Mahmoud Al Mammar shone with love and passion. His shared communication was testament to the fact that we are all connected. In this case: art, the gift of creation, was the glue.
Mammar would be excited to know that his paintings are in-line with fall 2012′s trend of cubism. Find inspiration in the images below..
See more out of life–be aware of the threads that weave us together.