In an effort to improve understanding between Muslims and Christians, an art show by Islamic refugee painters called “Building Bridges” will be displayed at Wichita State University and Bethel College galleries in August and September.
The show will feature works by about 15 artists trained at the Art Institute of Baghdad and who have long resumes and works on permanent display around the world.
Most of the artists are double refugees, having fled from Iraq to Syria to escape war and violence in their home country, then having to flee Syria to escape Islamic State violence, said Jan Swartzendruber of the Wichita group People for Faith and Peace, which is coordinating the exhibit.
Swartzendruber said the goals of the exhibit are twofold: to help break stereotypes about the Arab world and Islam through art and education and to give artists who have fled turmoil in the Middle East an opportunity to sell their work.
Paintings will be offered for silent auction at each venue.
People for Faith and Peace is working with a New York City nonprofit group called Common Humanity, which acts as an intermediary for the artists. The Islamic Society of Wichita is also a partner in the show.
The artwork focuses on a world few see, but the impact is long-lasting, captivating, and provides hope where there was none.
Hussam Madi, Islamic Society of Wichita
“The artwork focuses on a world few see, but the impact is long-lasting, captivating, and provides hope where there was none,” Islamic Society spokesman Hussam Madi said in a statement.
Paintings are scheduled to be on display on the following dates and at these locations:
Wichita State University
Guest lecture open to public, 5-6 p.m. Sept. 29, 210 McKnight Art Center
▪ Cadman Gallery, Rhatigan Student Center, Aug. 8-Sept. 30
▪ Clayton Staples Gallery, McKnight Art Center, Aug. 29-Sept. 30
▪ Shiftspace Gallery, WSU student gallery, 416 S. Commerce, No. 102, Sept. 14-30
Bethel College, North Newton
▪ Robert Regier Gallery, Luyken Fine Arts Center, Aug. 26-Sept. 23