Next Steps

As The Art Of Courage has become more formalized we wanted to bring the focus back into Canada. Our hopes and dreams are to create more projects like the Wall of Courage, but have them speak to issues close to home. It is about creating art to shine a light on the people who are suffering, but also to tell a little bit about them, their struggles and their journey through Courage. As we know, there are many people suffering and struggling right here in Canada, and it is our vision to be able to provide a platform for those who are not readily seen and heard. Art has the ability to create empathy and in our experience, inspire action.

Right now we are exploring ideas around issues that the indigenous people of this land face. The struggles they are confronted with and how we can work together with them to help tell their stories, to educate, to raise funds and to help relieve suffering.

The Refugee story is one that has continued to present itself throughout the touring of the Wall of Courage. In particular, the Congolese and Rwandan, and now Syrian experiences we have been privy to have affected us greatly. Canada has opened it’s arms to refugees for generations and we believe the stories of these new Canadians have so much to offer to the fabric of who we are as Canadians. Below is a perfect example.

Houssam Alloum arrived in Canada mid September, 2018. He was placed in Gananoque with his wife Maya and 8 month old son. Houssam’s family is the third group that have been sponsored to relocate to the community through the Gananoque Refugee Resettlement Group. Instead of bringing along his clothes, Houssam choose to carry two large over sized rolls of paintings.
Houssam lived for 5 years in Turkey after fleeing from Syria for refuge. He spent his time painting obsessively. Sometimes this was his only way of dealing with the suffering in his homeland. Painting allowed him to escape into a world that held hope for the future.

 

Houssam studied fine art at university and his wife Maya is a civil engineer. They arrived into the community ready to give back.  Houssam and Maya met Heather and Jeff shortly after they arrived in Gananoque. Upon seeing his hundreds of pieces of art, Heather and Jeff knew instantly that this work had to be included in The Art Of Courage journey. One particular series is from a time when he traveled into Jordan to volunteer his creative talents to help the children of the refugee camps. Art therapy is a widely known technique used to help children and adults deal with emotional trauma. Houssam had a deep desire to help in the only way he knew how: Through his art.  He began a series of paintings with the children. He taught them to open up to the freedom that painting allows, encouraging them to play with large colourful strokes of paint on large artist canvases. Houssam then took these paintings and created portraits of each the children on top of their paintings – creating their art of courage.
This body of work is on display currently with the Wall of Courage at the inaugural launch of The Art Of Courage in Kingston, ON.

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