Syrian Art Comes to the Cowichan Valley – ‘Behind the Lines ‘Bridges Cultures, Celebrates the Human Spirit


November 15, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  (Duncan, BC) Syrian Artists “Come” to the Cowichan Valley – Behind the Lines Bridges Cultures, Celebrates the Human Spirit.

A year since the Canadian government committed to welcoming Syrian refugees into our communities, are we any more knowledgeable about the diverse and rich culture of this war torn land? For the first time on Vancouver Island, a collection** of contemporary Syrian art Behind the Lines will be on display at Duncan United Church from November 27 to December 3 – with a special opening reception on November 27 – and at Brentwood College School in Mill Bay from December 10 to 17.

Penticton Art Gallery Curator Paul Crawford brings “powerful, raw, and striking” images from nineteen Syrian artists to the heart of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. Exhibit visitors will have the opportunity to see the conflict in Syria from a Syrian perspective, while contributing to the well-being of the artists (most still live in Syria) and their communities.

In strokes of colour and imagery that “is a testament to the capacity of the human spirit”, the exhibit draws viewers into Syria in a way that few other media can. Each work speaks eloquently, containing and reflecting the passion of the artists creating them.

Contacted by a small group coordinated by the Cowichan Intercultural Society, Mr. Crawford shares the exhibit at no cost, hoping the artists might connect with others in the world beyond the bombs. The Faculty of Social Sciences, Vancouver Island University, has arranged for Mr. Crawford to speak about the exhibit and the artists on November 28, while other partners (including VIU Faculty Association) have offered to help defray travel costs and provide space for the exhibit without charge. Admission to the exhibit is by donation.

Please come down and let your eyes inform your heart of what the mind can sometimes not fully comprehend…Syria…today…as narrated by the young hands of her artists.

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Contact: Jennifer Yee Fairweather, Intercultural Partnership Coordinator, Cowichan Intercultural Society

Full Media Release – syrian-art-exhibit-release-2016-11-15

Behind the Lines Event Poster – behind-the-lines-cowichan-poster-final-final

**A selection of the full exhibit will be available for viewing. Review catalogue of the full exhibit  and the artists’ profiles that was displayed at the Penticton Art Gallery – syrian-cat-np-1


About the Cowichan Intercultural Society

The Cowichan Intercultural Society (CIS) is spearheading the movement to welcome and support refugees to the community.   CIS is the leading immigrant and refugee aid organization in the region. We facilitate mutual respect, trust, support and education in the culturally diverse Cowichan Valley. Our vision is of an inclusive and welcoming community, where every person feels valued and has a sense of belonging. Learn more at

About Vancouver Island University

Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, applied research and learning, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is a dynamic, internationally known university supporting a student population of 18,000 learners, including 1,800 international students and approximately 2,000 Indigenous students. One of VIU’s core values is to build collaborative and reciprocal relationships with community and educational partners to provide relevant support to the cultural, economic, environmental and social needs of the regions we serve. As well, the university promotes awareness of global issues and conditions by supporting a thriving study-abroad program and fostering knowledge and skills oriented toward ecological and social sustainability. Learn more at

About Brentwood College School

Brentwood College School is a progressive, co-educational boarding school for Grades 9 to 12 located on a spectacular 77-acre oceanfront campus in Mill Bay, BC. At Brentwood, student choice is a unique part of our culture and a deciding factor in who attends the School, Brentwood truly is where students choose to be. Learn more at

About Duncan United Church

Duncan United Church is located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, kitty corner from the post office in downtown Duncan, BC. A centre of Spiritual reflection and community conversation, the church is known for thoughtful engagement, prophetic witness, and direct support. Duncan United sponsors one of the many Syrian families who now call the Cowichan home. The sponsorship program, like the exhibit, is a collaboration between Duncan United and many folk from throughout the valley, and beyond. Together, we are creating a better world. Learn more at