Magazine article New Internationalist

Art and Soul

Magazine article New Internationalist

Art and Soul

Article excerpt

'In times of war It Is very Important to protect artists: they are the ones who protect the soul of society/ says Raghad Mardlnl, the softly spoken Syrian director of Art Residence Aley (ARA).

Beginning with the anti-regime graffiti that sparked the country's 2011 revolution, Syrian art has undergone a renaissance as artists - particularly those In exile - have felt freer to express themselves and their politics.

ARA Is situated In Aley, a mountain resort town near Lebanon's capital, Beirut. It offers temporary residencies to Syrian artists, giving them a chance to recuperate as well as to create. In the hope that art can help mend their fragmented society.

The former stables were renovated by Raghad and opened In May 2012. Since then, over 40 artists have been hosted In pairs fora month ata time. Reliant on donors, the non-profit organization pays all the residents' expenses. In return, Raghad asks each artist to write two lines about their time at Aley and to leave one piece of their work. …

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