Cyffwrdd Syria – Touching Syria
Some seven years ago, about a year after Dr Zigs was first started, I was thrilled to start getting repeat orders from Nice, in France. Some of my very first purchases from overseas. I was an exporter! So early on! As well as being thrilled, it intrigued me that I was posting all these bubbles c/o the hospital there, and a bit of investigation led me to our customer, Khaled Youssef, artist, poet and surgeon. Khaled and I reached out to each other on social media, and that marked the beginning of a great friendship.
Khaled has used our bubbles in his work, where he mixes striking imagery and reflections in bubbles, with poetry –you can see on Instagram @bubblestory, and I highly recommend you give him a follow.
Our Bubbles Not Bombs project was born with Dr Zigs, we had already started working with @CampignAgainsttheArmsTrade and had shipped our first kits out to India. What made our collaborations even stronger was Khaled’s hashtags #MakeBubblesNotWar. Through Bubbles we were talking the same language.
Khaled is also from Damascus, Syria.
As the war in Syria escalated, our paths continued on parallel tracks. Here at Dr Zigs we intensified our Bubbles Not Bombs work – focusing on collecting and shipping aid, forging further partnerships with grassroots organisations such as Pobl i Bobl and Care UK. In turn Khaled was also working to raise awareness and set up Syria.Art “Association pour la Promotion de l’Art Contemporain Syrien seeks to provide a diverse, open overview of the Syrian art scene and its talented Syrian artists, and to shed light on the dynamism currently characterising Contemporary Syrian Art in Syria, France, Europe and the rest of the world”.
by Nizar Ali Bedr
In Summer 2016, on a family holiday to the South of France, Khaled and I finally arranged to meet in Nice. As we sat together for an evening meal, the idea was first born, to bring a Syria.Art exhibition to Bangor, North Wales.
Back in North Wales, with the help of hugely talented, BAFTA nominated, Angharad Griffiths, and artist and designer Mishelle Kit this ambitious art project took hold. Together we founded Cyffwrdd Celf –a socially conscious and progressive arts organisation dedicated to using art to connect people and cultures, on the back of which we were able to secure Arts Council funding to bring this, our first exhibition to reality.
This month, Sat 12th January 2019 will see the opening of Cyffrwdd Syria – Touching Syria. A six-week exhibition to include, on the 19th Jan, a day of talks, projections, music, food and dance celebrating Syrian and Welsh culture. It has been co-curated by Humam Alsalim and Menna Thomas, and includes artists from both Syria and Wales collaborating together for the very first time.
The artists that we have taking part, both from Wales, as well as Syria and the larger diaspora, are phenomenal. Inspiring, emotional, powerful works, some of which has been created especially for this event. There is to be music, talks, debates, film and even Syrian food prepared by a Welsh chef. A celebration and a coming together, a discovery and a sharing of culture.
Of course, to further honour this event, and as an ongoing celebration of the Bubbles Not Bombs project, there will of course be our Bubbles. Both featured in Khaled’s artwork on the walls of Storiel and Pontio, and in the skies above Bangor.
Incredible really when you think what a few bubbles can do..