“Stories from the Land of Olives” shows a nation’s history

The painting called, “Stories from the Land of Olives" was exhibited in the Berxwedan Camp.

Shehba - The history of Afrin and what happened in the city after the occupation were portrayed on a 58-meter painting titled “Stories from the Land of Olives”. The painting was exhibited in the Berxwedan Camp on Tuesday, May 17, after the hard labor and effort of 15 individuals from Afrin who were forcefully displaced to Shahba canton in northeastern Syria.

The painting consists of four parts. The first part tells the story of Afrin when it was a peaceful place under democratic autonomous administration. The second part tells the story of Afrin after it was occupied by Turkey.  The third part tells the stories of people forcibly displaced from Afrin and the final part tells the story of the people of Afrin's hope to return to their land and homes.

“Afrin is still in our hearts”

Hevin Shamio, the project supervisor and a member of the Social Affairs and Labor administration, stated that the idea and preparation of the painting was an initiative of the Social Affairs and Labor office because Afrin is still in their hearts and minds of the displaced people of Afrin although more than four years have passed since their displacement. 

She stated that they wanted to keep their beautiful memories and heroic resistance in Afrin and Shahba alive.  Indicating that they began to paint by finding out the people who are capable of creativity and drawing, Hevin Shamio said, “The idea received great support and response from all creators and talents.”

She stressed that everyone from Afrin protects and defends their occupied region by using brushes instead of guns as a challenge.

Challenges they faced

Underlining that they faced numerous obstacles and difficulties in obtaining drawing materials and going to the location where they drew the painting as a result of the Syrian regime's unjust siege of the region, she emphasized that those who in charge of the project and the painters sacrificed a significant amount of time, effort, and sacrifices for the project's success and creativity in the drawing. "We want to make the voices of the people to the whole world,” she added.

Ludmila Horu, who helped to sketch the artwork, stated that they hoped to achieve success by working together and portraying the narrative of the land of olives. "I wanted to use my imagination and creativity to recreate the Maidanki River in Afrin,” she stated, "In the summer, the people of Afrin gathered around it, and people traveled from far away to enjoy the river and the sights.”

Ludmila's artwork evoked the recollections of those who lived there before the Turkey occupation. “Each citizen of Afrin resident had personal memories from where they used to live.”

The story of liberation of Afrin

Ludmla Horo told us that the final part of their painting tells the story of the liberation of Afrin and the return of its people to the safe and peaceful homeland.

Zalukh Mahmoud, a member of the Kongra Star Diplomatic Relations Committee who attended the opening ceremony of the painting, spoke to NuJINHA about what she felt when she first saw the painting.  “The painting takes us to Afrin and shows us what had happened there. The painting is definitely a historical and artistic achievement.”

“We will keep working”

She emphasized that the painting symbolizes what the people of Afrin have gone through, as well as their determination and commitment to Afrin, their homeland. “We will keep working and making efforts until Afrin is liberated from the Turkish occupation,” she added.