Many Westerners have taken a keen interest in what is happening in Syria, Yemen and other stride-hit countries in the Middle East.
War has seen a flow of refugees pouring into Europe, but it has also meant that plenty of Middle Eastern artists (musicians, painters etc..) have found a new audience in the West.
While news organisations were talking about refugee crisis, there were a lot of stories behind those refugees as they brought culture and arts with them, as well as heritage and skills.
“Those artists are presenting their artworks and skills to the Western World with different stories, stories that the media would hardly pay attention because they are not ‘’hot’’ enough. Previously unheard of artists (musicians, painters, singers etc ..) have found new platforms to reach their countrymen but also a broader Western audience.” says Elias Temlali journalist at the BBC.
One would expect a rapprochement to come about through dialogue. This rapprochement, however, has happened in the least predictable way. Particularly, the internet played a major role to connect these two worlds, sometimes in real time.
And partly through these artists (their songs, paintings etc ..) Temlali sees “The West is also revisiting itself: issues that had never been thoroughly discussed have become topical: racism, integration, Islam and the veil are issues that can no longer be avoided.”
Art and culture is a key to togetherness between different cultures.
For instance, Baynatna library project in Berlin is one example that opens a door for dialogue among many communities.
The library -which means “between us” in Arabic – run by a group of Syrian volunteers in Berlin to bridge two cultures: Syrian and German.
Building such a unique space to promote Arabic culture, Middle Eastern events, etc will make such an invaluable platform and sources for students and academics. This will continue to do good work of changing the perception of Arabs and Arabic culture among Western societies. It is a gateway to the Arab world and a vital hub where individuals and organisations work alongside each other in a spirit of friendship and collaboration.
Dialogue of cultures is another initiative aimed to bring forward different artists from Germany and Syria to celebrate cooperation through art.