Art by displaced people

Take Flight

This exhibition is an initiative of Newest Art Organization which is a citizen-based group located in Amsterdam Oost, The Netherlands. In addition to organizing exhibitions, Newest Art Organization works together with artists on a number of levels including storage, sales and rental of their artwork, coordinating events, workshops and offering practical advice to the artist.

On April 30, CBK Oost, Amsterdam, opened the exhibition, Take Flight; a unique collection of recent works by an international group of 19 artists most likely unknown to any of us here. Not surprising, since these artists are only recently in our midst.

Take Flight presents for the first time the driven work of artists who have fled countries ­- such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea – under the siege of war. Scattered throughout many parts of the world, some have found their way to Amsterdam where the future looks, at best, uncertain. The work presented in this show has been made in spite of intensely stressful and often life ­threatening circumstances; relying on scarce materials and tools, these individuals have found a way to create and express themselves.

The stories of this group of artists and artisans are as varied as their materials and techniques. Through paintings, drawings, photographs, objects and music, Take Flight shows the rich, full scale of human emotions, from fear and desperation to longing, beauty, and strength; from the hard and raw to the whispering and seductive.

What binds these artists together is their lot – having fled their countries while leaving behind other family members, their homes, jobs and possessions. What also binds is the positive determination that when all seems lost, the power of creativity may offer comfort and finally triumph.