OASIS OF PAINT – Fintan Magee and Suhaib Attar in Azraq Refugee Camp

After more than 5 years of war in Syria, the death and destruction continues unabated. More than half of Syria’s people have fled their homes. In search of refuge they wait at closed borders and for deadly sea crossings. Refugees do not arrive at destinations, but rather at waiting places. They wait for the war to stop and for food and water to be distributed, for paperwork to be processed, for a permit to work or to attend a school. They wait for their lives to resume. They wait for news of death. Syrians are stuck between a world they knew that no longer exists and a future they cannot start. They are trapped in the waiting place.

Spirit Animals

In Azraq Refugee camp there are some children who arrive without their parents. All the stories are different. Some children’s parent’s died in the war, others lost their parents in transit across the border and some have parents than can not or no longer wish to care for them. Kids who do not have guardians stay in a specific space that is an orphanage of sorts. They are not permitted to leave this space until they are either 18 or they are reunified with their parents. The space is run by IRC (International Rescue Committee) and is in a desert camp with stark white pre-fabricated containers. Together with Fintan Magee, Jordanian artist Suhaib Attar and the kids, painted their space, covering every bit of white space with color. Oasis Paint Fintan Magee Suhaib Attar Azraq Refugee Camp

Flora in the Desert

Sea of Dream
Flying Hope

After the project in the refugee camp, Fintan painted a wall in Suhaib’s neighborhood of East Amman. Inspired by Syrian children confined to the refugee camps in Jordan, Fintan Magee painted a girl who had lost her parents fleeing Syria. Alongside a fading reflection of her past life she gazes into a future that is unknown. The piece is titled THE EXILE and below is some text Fintan wrote about the wall:

The piece is titled THE EXILE

“Jordan has absorbed more refugees than almost any other county. With almost 3 Million from Palestine, 1.4 Million from Syria and 200,000 from Iraq over half the country’s population is from a refugee background. The first wave of refugees in the country were Palestinian who fled their homeland during the creation of Israel in 1948. Most of the Palestinian’s in Jordan are now permanently settled and are allowed access to public services and healthcare, as a result, the areas that were once refugee camps have been transformed into urbanized neighbourhoods surrounding the nation’s cities.”Fintan Magee

“This wall, painted in one for these Predominately Palestinian neighbourhoods is a portrait of a young girl who escaped Syria with her three brothers. The brothers and sisters are currently in the ‘un-accompanied minors’ section of a refugee camp, a small orphanage for children that arrived with no parents or other family. This girl was the most outgoing of all the girls there, leaving the private girls-only section everyday to play football, socialize and speak to her brothers. I was surprised by how many people I met in the camp had rejected resettlement in other countries as they felt that if they left the camp their homeland would be lost for them, choosing instead to wait out the war in the hope that they could return to their homes. Almost everyone I met dreamed of returning to Syria over anything else.”Fintan Magee

A project by AptArt, text and photography by Samantha Robinson, founder of AptArt.org

More Information