Art Perspective: A New Beginning

By Elia Sharifi, Sarah Hossaini, Zahra Habibi

This is the first time that three of us “Young Journalists” have collaborated, and we are off to meet “Perspective”, one of the best art groups in Athens. This multi-faceted, diverse company was started in 2017 by a woman from London. There were only two people in the group at first, but volunteers quickly joined, giving it a boost and allowing for expansion.

The group’s first exhibition took place in a café in Monastiraki Square. The event was so successful that it quickly drew other artists. The group’s activities widened and it became essential to find a larger space that would accommodate everyone in a single studio, where they could work and put on shows with greater ease and vitality.

The company ended up signing a relatively good and cost-effective agreement for the use of a building of COMMUNITISM, and so was able to open its own studio. This became a place where anyone who wanted to explore the direction and method of their own artistic creativity could do so with ease and confidence.

After two months of hard work and effort, the team was finally ready to put on its second exhibition. The third followed five months later.

“Perspective” was always successful, always attracting people, so much so that two journalists from our newspaper became members. “Perspective” has now created so many partnerships that it is also able to show its artists’ work abroad.

Merhard, from Iran, is one of the earliest members of the team. “When I still lived in the camp at Malakasa, I would pass the time painting, until the lady from London who runs Perspective discovered me and I joined the team.”

Merhard started drawing in pencil, but now uses different styles and techniques. He says that painting calms you down and stops you being so emotional about all the various obstacles and difficulties. It also allows you to come to terms with your own personal psychological anxieties. As a refugee, he always includes some kind of sign of his refugee status in his works

The works of Vail, known as Liv, from Syria, are bolder and he hopes that colour will allow him to express himself with more intensity. He believes that although art won’t change the world, it can add colour, encourage original thought and awaken conscience. This is because it is a medium rather than a means of transformation. For example, art can express the conditions and situations experienced by refugees but it can also reveal things that they themselves have not spoken about.

Arvin, one of the older members, says that when he first joined there were just five participants, while now there are more than 50. He says that he loves to portray the living conditions of refugees through photographs, especially those of women and children, because their expressions are very vivid.

Jamil, another member of the team, came across “Perspective” through acquaintances. He started painting only 10 months ago and has learnt almost everything through the team. He believes that it is only through his work that an artist can express himself, depict his difficulties, his pain, his feelings and anything else that he cannot communicate through language.

Those are just some of the members of the team, but unfortunately, there are very few women. This is not a good thing for such a good, strong group made up of so many people, nationalities and personalities.

By talking to some of the group, we learnt that art is indeed a practical way of expressing the thoughts emotions, beliefs, ideas and inclinations of each artist, because each creation is the means by which he does it.

Regardless of whether the work of art is a refugee’s way of expressing himself, or the result of a painter’s imagination, it is merely a road to an end. It is a means of expression and because this group is so diverse, it really is unique and remarkable.

This article was originally published in the ninth issue of ‘Migratory Birds’. The ninth issue of ‘Migratory Birds’ was produced by the Network for Children’s Rights, and supported by UNICEF with funding by the European Commission — Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations. This edition was further supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung– Office in Greece, funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation, and published in Greece’s Efsyn newspaper on July 28, 2018.

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