Although the current global political climate can be incredibly demoralizing at times, Young Artists for Syria embody the idea of thinking globally and acting locally as a response to it. This group of eight Muslim youth artists, based in the Greater Toronto Area under the umbrella of MyVoice Magazine, began their first project in June of 2017 selling their artwork to raise money for Syrian newcomer families to facilitate their adjustment to life in Canada.
From exhibitions at MuslimFest and MAX Gala this year, the Young Artists for Syria managed to raise over $2,000 through the silent auction of their works. The money raised went entirely towards the assembly and distribution of mental health kits to Syrian newcomer families by the Syrian Canadian Foundation (SCF).
Their work has only just begun though. The artists are currently planning their next endeavour: to raise money and awareness for the crisis of the Rohingya. They are also looking to expand their operations so with every new project they are able to make greater impacts in helping their target populations.
While each artist’s style varies in the group, generally their pieces are made using acrylic or oil paints. The goal of their artwork is to re-dignify regions which have been wrecked by conflict, by showing images of the grandeur each location was known to its people for.
One of the guiding principles behind the Young Artists for Syria is the idea in Surah Al-Ma’idah, where Allah (SWT) likens saving one soul to saving all of mankind (5:32). As Aisha Hyder said on founding the group, “I always knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t really know how and what. I think it’s really hard to determine what the best way is to help, and I guess for me art is a really powerful means through which you can raise awareness because you can tell a story, and you can also raise funds by auctioning them.”
They have only just begun, but the Young Artists for Syria have high hopes for the future of their work. As one of the artists, Aiman Faheem, put it, “when you start something small and you’re not just sitting there in your room watching something, you’re actually doing something about it – even if it’s little, it doesn’t satisfy you. It’s not enough.”
These youth choose to use their art to make a difference in the world. What do you have to offer?