The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, June 17, 2018

Circus arts help Syrian children make new life
Syrian children perfom during a circus class on the roof top of a building on March 19, 2017, in Mardin. There is laughter, excitement and a sense of joyful chaos. Some children are perched on stilts, others are spinning plates or happily performing aerial dances. But this is not the big top circus in a major city but a house in southeastern Turkey where Syrian refugee children are learning circus tricks in an innovative programme to help integrate into their foreign host country. The Her Yerde Sanat association ('art is everywhere' in Turkish) is working with 120 young people aged between three and 20, 80 of whom are Syrians and the rest are Turks. BULENT KILIC / AFP.

by Luana Sarmini-Buonaccorsi

MARDIN (AFP).- Laughter rings out and there is an atmosphere of excitement and joyful chaos. Children are perched on stilts, others spin plates or happily perform aerial dances.

This is not a big top circus in a major city but a house in southeastern Turkey, where Syrian refugee children learn circus tricks in an innovative programme to help integrate into their foreign host country.

The Her Yerde Sanat association (Turkish for 'Art Anywhere') works with 120 young people aged three to 20.

Just north of the Syrian border, at the house in Mardin province, there is a beautiful view over the Mesopotamian plain to Syria, which 80 of the youngsters once called home. The other children are Turkish.

On the ground floor, some 15 children alternate between aerial dancing from ribbons suspended from the ceiling, juggling and the trapeze, while younger ones in a second room play percussion instruments with an impressive intensity.

Upstairs, Turkish is being taught to Syrian children so they can integrate into school.

Some learn the circus arts everyday because they are unable to go to school; for others it is a weekend activity. Some become good enough to perform publicly in shows or regional festivals.

'Break down language barriers'
Fifteen-year-old Eyad Haj Mahmoud, originally from Aleppo in northern Syria, believes the classes are helpful.

"I learned things here that have allowed me to become a better person," he told AFP.

It is a chance for the children to temporarily forget their past -- adult instructors, most of whom have a professional or amateur circus background, are told never to ask about their origins.

Surrounded by the sound of laughter and raucous activity, Pinar Demiral told AFP the children "are just here to create circus art".

One of the co-founders of the association, established in 2012, Demiral said: "We use the circus as a tool to break down all the language barriers."

In the daylong workshops, trainers switch from one language to another, helped by their students who also do music and hip-hop classes.

The adults are mostly volunteers from outside of Turkey, who come for an average of three months; some speak Turkish and Arabic while all know English.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 310,000 people, forced over five million people to flee the country and left much of it in ruins since it erupted six years ago.

Turkey is home to over 2.9 million Syrian refugees, according to figures released by the Turkish interior ministry last month.

Some 300,000 of those are in camps, while others live with the local population.

And this is where the association comes in, helping with integration through circus arts in a project partly funded by NGO International Medical Corps, together with the Swiss government.

'Respectful space'
Activity coordinator Muhammed Kheir Kassim came to Turkey from Damascus four years ago and said he discovered the association through his son.

Having been a school headmaster in Syria, he soon got involved himself.

"I sent my son (to Her Yerde Sanat) to prevent him from hanging around on the streets, especially because he is a refugee and risks having problems in society."

He described his privileged relationship with the children, saying he was like "a father" and "a friend" to them.

"We get angry, we reconcile, we fight but at the end of the day, we have the same heart and the same goal," he said.

Teenagers are trained so they can mentor younger ones when volunteers are in short supply or need help. It is a role they take very seriously.

"They learn things from each other, they help each other," Demiral said, whose aim is to give children "a space, in which they are respected and taught skills so that they can find their own balance".

'Gained confidence'
Turkish children benefit from the experience too.

Nursena, a girl from Mardin, has been taking part for a year, her mother told AFP.
Tuba Akburak said Nursena had "gained confidence after coming, she makes friends more easily".

But, working with children who have seen war and been through trauma and experiences far removed from those of their Turkish friends, is not always easy.

"There are sometimes conflicts between Turkish and Syrian children, they might fight," Demiral said.

"But from day one, when they enter, we just tell them that the only rule is 'we cannot fight'."

While mindful that they are working with children with a "background of war", she added that she wanted to stop the cycle of violence.

"At first, they want to fight and show their power, but playing in the same space, being equal, it decreases the tensions between the groups."

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

April 11, 2017

According to study, prehistoric cannibals didn't just eat each other for the calories

Geneva Magnificent Jewels led by La Légende

Sotheby's to offer the most valuable earrings ever to appear at auction

Sotheby's to offer Roy Lichtenstein's Nude Sunbathing

Nolan painting acquired by Australian War Memorial

Julien's Auctions announces Spring Street Art and Contemporary Art Auction

Exhibition shows, for the first time, a forgotten member of De Stijl that returned to Realism

Historic San Francisco panorama leads Bonhams Photography Sale in New York

Phillips announces Auction of Exceptional Jewels and Jadeite in Hong Kong

John Baldessari: Paintings 1966-68 exhibited at Craig F. Starr Gallery

National Postal Museum opens exhibition commemorating the centennial of First World War

Solo exhibition of new works by artist Entang Wiharso on view at Marc Straus

Newly discovered painting and new film add to the resurgence of Nova Scotia Folk Art icon Maud Lewis

Camden Arts Centre opens first major retrospective of 91-year-old Romanian artist Geta Brătescu in London

Vancouver Art Gallery acquires works by Rodney Graham, Susan Point, Skeena Reece, and Stephen Waddell

Gary Grealy wins National Photographic Portrait Prize 2017

Abbot Hall Art Gallery presents over 30 monumental paintings by Julian Cooper

Blanton presents first touring museum exhibition of works by Nina Katchadourian

Circus arts help Syrian children make new life

New York harnesses future with passion for the past

Beijing hutongs: Village life in the city

Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions to include decorative arts and contents of Brightley House

June Kelly Gallery opens exhibition of work by Julio Valdez

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful