Creative Connections: Linking Cities Through Art


London-based publication shado are teaming up with the Athens arts collective Perspectives for a three-city tour in Athens, Amsterdam and London in Spring/Summer 2019.

The exhibition will tour the collective work of 11 artists, from these three cities. Each artist has migrated to Europe and this is an opportunity to provide an international platform to celebrate and showcase their work.

Each exhibition will also feature live music from musicians based in each city. In Athens, we had Hussain Badran and friends; in London, we will be joined by Abdelkader Saadoun, and we will finish the tour in Amsterdam, joined by the force of nature that is Syrian violinist Alaa Arsheed.


The aim of the exhibition is to publicise and promote the artists’ work to a wide, international audience; to switch up perspectives on those who have been through migration to Europe and to provide a space for each artist to take control of their own narrative.

By touring the exhibition, we will connect London, Athens and Amsterdam in a discussion around art, community and inclusion. This will be a real-life opportunity, during this hostile Brexit era, to bring together the work of these international artists and offer a cross-city experience of celebration, art, music and welcome, forging creative connections through the expressive and global language of art.

The Story

Each artist has their own story and we want you to discover it through their art. They have been selected to take part in this exhibition, both for their individual talent and also for the important insight that their art adds to the discussion around migration and identity. Whether it is Abdulazez Dukhan’s use of visual storytelling to change perceptions of refugees, or Anna Virabyan’s employment of fine art as a medium of emotional expression, each of the artists involved offers a vital contribution to understanding the topic of migration. Importantly, each artist takes their own first-hand experience to use art as a form of self-narration, for which we are honoured to provide a platform across these three major European cities.

Why we need your help

We have already been hard at work securing the venues and privately raising funds, but we need your help. To print and transport all of the work and to pay the musicians, we are in need of additional funds. We welcome any support you may be able to give and hope this will provide a unique opportunity to engage and be part of a wider community seeking inclusion, celebration and sharing.

The money we raise will be put towards the organisation, curation and physical transportation of the moving exhibition. Any additional funds raised, that are not needed for this purpose, will be split between the artists equally. There will also be opportunities at each exhibition to purchase the artists’ work.

This is an opportunity to engage, connect and inspire different communities, and to open discussions and celebrate the positive power of art. We would love to see as many of you there to join us in these evenings of connection!

The artists involved:

Abdulazez Dukhan is a 20-year-old Syrian photographer whose work, made while he was a resident in a Greek refugee camp in response to aggressive and problematic European photojournalism, provides a much needed perspective of individuals and their stories. His work includes both digital fine art, through which he explores and reconciles his personal life experiences, and photojournalism where he uses photography as a form of visual storytelling to share the stories of those around him.

Anna Virabyan is an Armenian artist based in UK. Anna is a domestic violence survivor and refugee, who has received her status in the last year. During a difficult period in her life, she used her art as a medium of expressing her emotions, which helped her overcome fear and pain. The process of art is Anna’s inner conversation with life: “Creativity can help to explore such things through non-verbal communication, the sense of belonging no matter your legal status and identity. It clears barriers between you, others and life itself.” Anna is now providing art workshops for people from different cultures and backgrounds,  to help them express themselves through creative techniques and help them overcome challenges through art.

Ayman Alhussein is a Syrian photographer and filmmaker based in London. He left Syria in 2012 and went on to study dental prosthesis technology in Turkey for 4 years but was unable to find work after graduating – so, he made the long journey to the UK through Europe. His passion for photography and film-making led him to document his journey, which has turned into his profession.

Iqra Noor is a Pakistani painter who uses art to explore notions of personal identity, migration, womanhood and self-portraiture. She is an active member of Pomegranate, a social enterprise which empowers refugees through creative expression.

Sally Talal was born in Iraq and raised in Athens since the age of two. She has always loved to imagine, explore and create, and art has continuously been a positive influence in her life. She values the way painting helped guide her to understand her own identity and self-concept, allowing all of her emotions within to be stroked onto the blank canvas before her, and echo the inner voice of her soul.

“Art carries an immense power with the ability to trigger change. Every creation is a silent message to the universe. A silence where minds enter another utopian world in which all external ‘powers’ are muted. I believe that every being has an artist within them, and allowing their creativity to manifest itself is a vital essence for our future world we want to create and live harmoniously in. A world where our mind, body and soul can co-exist in an equal balance of synchronization.”

Wael Habbal is a Syrian artist who has lived in Greece since 2015. His artwork is a combination of doodling and the reality he sees or lives through. He is a co-founder of Syrian & Greek Youth Forum; a member of the Communitism Team and the Greek Forum of Refugees, and he also works with Generation 2.0 Red.

“Lesvos 2016 – the island of Love. There I discovered again that I can put my thoughts on a piece of paper to transfer a story all over the world knowing that one day we will make a positive change.”

Mostafa Rajabi is an Iranian artist, who has been painting for as long as he can remember. Having the support of his father, and several art masters along the way allowed him to freely experiment with a number of styles, until he felt he found his own. Mostafa uses the canvas to explore his emotional response to the emotions that surround him.

Elias Sharifi was born in 1997 in Herat,  Afghanistan. He has a calm and curious character, and had been in love with art since he was a child. When arriving to Greece, he attempted photography for the first time, receiving training from a friend, and quickly improved. Within Perspectives art group, Elias has been able to show his point of view through art.

Khatereh Ahmadi is from Afghanistan, but was born in Iran. Although now she is living in Germany, when she was in Greece she would teach art to children living in the camps. She enjoys painting and photography, finding that these mediums are a safe haven from problems. They allow her to enter a new world, and invited you to see that world through her work.
 "I like art, and photography is one of the branches of art. In my opinion, capturing the beautiful moments can be very enjoyable, when you are a photographer, you pay more attention to the details and beauties around you, such as light, darkness, colours, people and even the buildings seem more interesting to you. Thus I think Art is like music, there are no linguistic or cultural barrier. We can communicate with the whole world."

Hussain Badran is a musician and visual artist. Hussain was born in 1994 in Tal Tamr, Syria. He lives in Athens for the past two years studying music harmony and painting. He has offered art classes to unaccompanied minors voluntarily and he himself is a professional musician and visual artist. He was an active member of numerous music bands such as Musikarama, The Lullaby Project, El Sistema, Lyrics of Sada performing as a soloist at the same time. As a visual artist he balances between photorealism and abstract art, using various art media and materials (acrylics, oil, pastels). His paintings sometimes reveal personal experiences while other times present influences from the East. Often, his work depicts his wishful thinking and desire which are placed in an imaginary world appareled with various symbolisms. According to him, Peter Paul Rubens’ “Massacre of the innocents” has significantly influenced his work.

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Hannah Robathan 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
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