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Artist uses new work to link Detroiters, Syrians

Syrian artistSyrian-born artist, Ilham Mahfouz, recently revealed new works of painting and ceramics in an exhibit titled, “Syria: Crisis and Hope,” on display through April 12 at the Swords into Plowshares Peace Center and Gallery.

Her work has been shown across the U.S. and the world, in places as far away as Egypt, Italy, New Zealand, Malaysia, Turkey and Venezuela.

In March 2011, citizens in Mahfouz’s homeland began protesting for democratic reforms and an end to human rights violations. The government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, cracked down on the protestors with mass arrests and torture. Fighting continues there today.

The U.N. reported in September 2013 that 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes because of the conflict with over 2 million of them leaving the country altogether.

“Syria: Crisis and Hope” focuses on those displaced people, uprooted by war. Additionally, Mahfouz promises to donate 25 percent of show sale proceeds to an organization engaged in refugee relief.

On March 15, Mahfouz will give Detroiters an opportunity to hear about the Syrian crisis from those who lived through it during a panel discussion. The discussion, which lasts from 1-3 p.m., will feature “local professionals who have served as witnesses to this crisis,” Mahfouz said in a press statement. “We will hear first-hand of their experiences … (and) gain insight into actions we can take to have a positive effect on working toward a peaceful end to the crisis.”

The event is free and open to the public. The gallery is located at 33 E. Adams, Detroit.

For more information, call 313.963.7575 or visit

— Staff report

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