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Gaza: Between Life and Loss

April 5th- May 12th, 2024

Refugee Eye Gallery will present a new exhibit, Gaza: Between Life and Loss, featuring Gazan artists who are still in the city as well as refugees from various locations. Artists include: illustrator Bayan Abu Nahla, and photographers Suhail Nassar, Lara Aburamadan, Asil AlKabariti, and Rehaf Al Batniji


War and famine continue in Gaza. We’ve lost loved ones, and our homes and streets are unrecognizable. While we, as Palestinians all over the world, experience collective grief, Refugee Eye Gallery returns this year with a special exhibition that both features and is curated and organized by artists from Gaza. Our goal is to create a space where we can raise our voices with visual stories and memories of a home that is no longer the same.


Lara Aburamadan

Lara Aburamadan is a Palestinian multidisciplinary artist, and Co-founder of Refugee Eye. Born and raised in Gaza City, now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her work explores nostalgia and tends to embrace the human perspective through visual storytelling, and other forms of expression.

Lara has been chosen by Time Magazine among 34 women photojournalists around the world that you should follow their work in 2017.

Bayan Abu Nahla

Bayan Abu Nahla is a Gaza-based artist whose illustrations thoroughly capture and document the emotions of numerous individuals, including herself. Her emphasis lies in creating meaningful and intriguing art pieces that tell the story of her city.

Suhail Nassar

Suhail Nassar is a Gaza-based street photographer who has documented urban life in the city over the past couple of years. Home to over two million people, Gaza is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Yet with the population of Gaza living under occupation by Israel, the vibrancy of everyday life often gives way to the desolation of destruction as its buildings and populace are carpet bombed. Through his lens, Nassar manages to chronicle the catastrophes that befall Gaza, as well as the fleeting moments of peace in between them that are so rarely shared.

Asil AlKabariti

Asil AlKabariti is a street photographer deeply inspired by the vibrant energy and diverse tapestry of her hometown in Gaza. She captures the essence of her home with an unwavering curiosity and keen eye for detail. Her photography reflects an intimate relationship with Gaza, a city teeming with life, contradictions, and beauty. From the city’s vibrant markets to its quiet alleyways, AlKabariti offers viewers a window into Gaza’s soul. Her intention as an artist is to celebrate the city’s resilience, diversity, and humanity, inviting viewers to join her on a journey of discovery through the rich tapestry of Gaza.

Rehaf Al Batniji

Rehaf Batniji is a self-taught photographer and visual artist who has lived through five major conflicts. Her work captures the essence of life, culture, and identity. Choosing to be creative in the most challenging of times is one of the highest forms of resistance and love. Rehaf believes in the power of art as a source of healing and justice. She spends much of her time teaching photography to both youth and adults in Gaza, helping them to simultaneously capture and process their extraordinary ways of life.

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La Caravana Migrante

 “Somos tierra que anda - We Are Earth that Walks”


A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery

August 12 – October 7, 2023



For Refugee Eye’s third exhibit of the year, we are featuring Peruvian-born painter Talavera-Ballón. Historically, people have migrated to escape violence, war, persecution, poverty, and unemployment. La Caravana Migrante explores the topics of forced displacement and migration with powerful images of the hardship, desolation, and uncertainty that migrants experience during their pilgrimage north. 


It also conveys the feeling of community that develops as migrants traverse the desiccated and forbidding terrain of Mexico. In the midst of a heated international debate on immigration, these paintings offer a much-needed space for discussion, reflection, and heightened awareness. While these works highlight the struggles of migrants, they also offer a renewed sense of the strength of the human spirit.

“Somos tierra que anda - We Are Earth that Walks” tells the story of the Central American migrants in the recent caravans, who are traveling north in search of a better life. The artwork explores the suffering, strife, and hopes of those traveling from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries. The exhibit seeks to change the biased narrative portrayed by the media and offer a glimpse of hope. It is also an invitation for needed conversations to help us move beyond this highly charged conflict and toward a solution.


About the Artist

Talavera-Ballón is a Peruvian-born painter based in San Francisco, California. A disciple of acclaimed artist Luis Palao Berastain, Talavera-Ballón skillfully captures the essence of ordinary people’s lives and their surroundings across diverse regions and cultures of the Americas. He explores themes that highlight important social and cultural aspects of the people and places he has encountered. His work is also a tribute to immigrants like himself who left their home countries in search of new horizons.

Talavera-Ballon has exhibited in several art galleries, museums, and universities across Perú, Chile, and the United States, including the US Embassy, Lima, Peru; Museo Qoricancha, Cuzco; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Cuzco; the Peruvian Embassy, Washington, DC; the Latino Art Museum, Pomona, California; Galería de la Raza, San Francisco; Holy Names University, Oakland, California, UC Berkeley, the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco; and the de Young Museum, San Francisco. He has been selected for the San Francisco Arts Commission 2019–2020 and 2015–2016 Pre-Qualified Artist Pool and as a finalist in ArtSpan’s San Francisco Open Studios Guide Cover Competition. He has also participated in several live painting events, such as Friday Nights at the de Young Museum and Art Beats SF, and his work is part of the permanent collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Arequipa, Peru. A feature on Univision of his latest painting series, “Mujeres Luz” recently received three awards, including an Emmy, a New America Media Ethnic Media Award, and an Excellence in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment category.

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The Inner Child 
A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery
May 13 – July 15, 2023


As we approach Mental Health Awareness Month, we are thrilled to announce our second exhibit of the year, The Inner Child, featuring Syrian-born painter Nathalie Kardjian and fifteen children film photographers working with the nonprofit Sirkhane DARKROOM. 


Nathalie’s bold, expressive, and colorful paintings are presented alongside fifteen black-and-white photographs taken by Syrian and Iraqi children on the Syrian-Turkish and Iraqi borders. We chose the inner child theme because, as we refugees and artists grow, we learn to embrace and show up for our inner child, the child who didn’t choose to leave home, survive the war, and be prevented from enjoying their basic human rights. Our inner child is here to tell our stories through play, art, and creativity, to remind us every day that art is the way to healing. 


Nathalie Kardjian is a Syrian-born, Armenian-American painter, photographer and filmmaker, based in San Francisco. In addition to pursuing her passion for art, she also works as a dialogue designer.


Nathalie’s vision of art is deeply influenced by her experience growing up in Syria and witnessing the devastation and displacement caused by the civil war. Her art is not just about the chaos and complexity of the mind, but also about the possibility of finding peace and healing among that chaos. She intends to use the canvas as a space to confront the traumas of her past and find a sense of peace and belonging within art. The act of creating has been a transformative process for her, allowing her inner child to express in a way that goes beyond words and boundaries.


Nathalie’s paintings are characterized by their bold vibrant colors, strong lines, and dynamic brushstrokes. She uses a variety of media in her paintings, including acrylics, inks, and mixed media. She has described them as a way of expressing the beauty of life, the pain of loss, and the art of resilience.


Photography and film have also been an important aspect of Nathalie’s artistic expression. She describes herself as a visual storyteller, and her photographs often capture moments and emotions that convey a narrative. Against the escalation of the Syrian crisis, Nathalie shifted her focus on expressing human injustices through film. She directed and self-produced her first documentary, Two Weeks in Homs, which was featured in 2012 at the Arab Film Festival “I exist (in some way)” exhibition in Liverpool, England. She has also been directing and producing Hairlock Stories, which features Nathalie’s story as an immigrant, presenting the contrast between normal everyday life before and after the conflict in Syria.


Besides Nathalie’s passion for art, she has collaborated with global non-profit organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and others, to provide theater therapy activities to displaced children and families in need of psychosocial intervention, education, mental support, and personal development. She was also invited in 2018 and 2019 as a guest speaker for the Global Literacy and Visual Rhetorics class at Stanford University to encourage the students to engage rhetorically in the relationship between language, culture, religion, and identity.


Sirkhane DARKROOM is a mobile film photography program that works with children and youth near the Turkish-Syrian and Iraqi borders and teaches them to process and tell their stories through photography in a way that impacts how they view themselves and their role in their community. All program platforms utilize a custom curriculum that is built upon the art of photography being the gateway to teaching new skills, confidence, ownership, self-discovery, and self-expression. Through their perspectives and community contributions being uplifted onto a global platform, youth are showing themselves that today and always, they are the bigger picture. DARKROOM is led by young Syrian photographer Serbest Salih, who himself escaped the Syrian war and arrived in Turkey as a refugee.


Serbest had just finished university in 2014 when the Islamic State laid siege to his hometown of Kobani. He fled to the Turkish province of Mardin, just over the border, where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have settled during the past decade’s civil war. A multiethnic conflict zone at the edge of Mesopotamia, Mardin is home to a community center called the Sirkhane Social Circus School. Under the tutelage of volunteer instructors there, children affected by war learn to juggle, spin plates, and walk on stilts.

Bloom شكوفه

A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery

March 4, 2023–May 6, 2023

We are thrilled to announce our new show, Bloom شكوفه, celebrating Women’s History Month, Spring (Newruz), and life. We are featuring five refugee and immigrant Iranian visual artists based in the Bay Area. This show is dedicated to those fighting for freedom in all shapes and forms every day and to the young Iranian and Kurdish women and men who lost their lives in the streets of Tehran and other cities in Iran. Their voices live on and continue to inspire change against cruel regimes, which are one of the reasons that push people to leave their homeland for safety and a better future. This exhibit marks the one-year anniversary of Refugee Eye Gallery.


Our show opens Saturday, March 4, from 5:30–8:30 PM and begins with a poetry reading with author Rooja Mohassessy. Rooja will read from her latest book, When Your Sky Runs Into Mine, a memoir in verse recounting one woman’s transnational migrations through multiple cultures and across several borders. An ekphrastic conversation between niece and uncle, Rooja Mohassessy’s poems pay homage to her uncle, the prominent Iranian painter and sculptor Bahman Mohassess (1931–2010), who facilitated her migration from Iran at the height of the Iran-Iraq war. The collection traces the coming-of-age journey of an adolescent toward self-realization and freedom. This exhibit also features the work of four other Iranian artists—Azin Seraj, sisters Behnaz and Baharak Khaleghi (BSisters), and Maryam Tohidi—as well as beautiful ceramics by Zahra Hooshyar and music by Iranian American DJ and artist Ari Boostani (DJ AriB). 


Artists’ bios:


Behnaz and Baharak Khaleghi are multidisciplinary artists and collaborators. Behnaz and Baharak originated from Iran and currently live in the Bay Area, California, where Behnaz pursued her MFA at the University of California Berkeley, and Baharak pursued hers at San Jose State University. Working in an array of mediums, they seek alternative ways of making feminist art in a Middle Eastern context, paying attention to the potentials of humor and pleasure while simultaneously embracing the aesthetics of disgust and horror, pushing against taste to develop new categories for beauty; what is pleasurable and erotic for women as defined by women, as well as offensive to male taste and its ownership.


Behnaz’s work has been acclaimed and chosen among Bay Area emerging artists as part of the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards program and has been exhibited in spaces such as the De Young Museum and the Berkeley Art Museum. Baharak’s work has been exhibited in spaces such as the De Young Museum and Root Division Gallery in San Francisco.


Azin Seraj is an Iranian native and Canadian citizen who currently lives in the United States. Her video, photography, and multimedia installations reflect the varied textures of her transnational experience of displacement and alienation but also explore unexpected connections. She uses sounds and images to create visually and socially lush experiences, layered spaces, and multiple time frames. With an interdisciplinary approach to marginalized experiences, Seraj explores connections between colonial histories, citizen journalism, activist networks, and contemporary politics in South West Asia, South Asia, and North Africa.

Seraj’s work has been featured internationally in exhibitions and festivals, including SFMOMA, Open Space Arts Society in Canada, Tate Liverpool, (S8) Mostra De Cinema Periférico in Spain, Berkeley Art Museum, Minnesota Street Project, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Croatian Association of Artists. She has been the recipient of the 2019 Kala Media Artist Award.

Rooja Mohassessy is an Iranian-born poet and educator living in Northern California. She is a MacDowell fellow and a graduate of the Pacific University MFA program. Her first poetry collection, When Your Sky Runs Into Mine, won the 22nd Annual Elixir Poetry Prize and will be published by Elixir Press in 2023. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Poet Lore, RHINO Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, CALYX Journal, Ninth Letter, Cream City Review, The Rumpus, the Adroit Journal, Bare Life Review, Potomac Review, the Florida Review, New Letters, International Literary Quarterly, and elsewhere.


Bahman Mohassess (1931–2010) was born in Rasht, Iran, a city by the Caspian Sea. He was a descendant of the Mughal dynasty on the paternal side and the Ghadjars on his maternal side. As a young painter, Mohassess was apprenticed to Seyyed Mohammed Habib Mohammedi. He continued his artistic education in Tehran and Rome. After the toppling of the Pahlavi dynasty, he lived in exile in Rome. His oeuvre comprises paintings, sculptures, and collages. He was also a celebrated translator of literary works. Many of his public works in Iran were destroyed during the Islamic Revolution, with the artist subsequently destroying many of his remaining works in Iran.

Maryam Tohidi is an Iranian-born multimedia artist who has lived and worked in Iran, Canada, and the United States. Mirroring her rich and complex personal journey, her artistic process pulls from, reinterprets, and explores the boundaries of different mediums. Her work is exploratory, personal, and reflective. The use of objects with a previous life gives her work a nostalgic quality, while layering words, memories, poetry, and calligraphy makes them deeply personal. Maryam’s artwork often reflects the complexities and inherent fragility as well as the opportunities for living between different cultures.

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A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery

November 12, 2022- January 14, 2023

Opening  NightFundraising Reception: Saturday, November 12

On the fifth and final show of our 2022 season, Refugee Eye Gallery is featuring five refugee and immigrant visual artists. We chose the Liminal theme as it’s the in-between space, where most people who experienced fleeing home and experienced exile feel. On this opening and fundraising night, our goal is to hit $15,000 to receive a matching gift that will support our gallery next year as we continue to feature inspiring visual stories by talented refugees and highlight their perspectives. This year, we were honored to feature over twenty visual artists worldwide. This gallery serves as a home for all of us to continue sharing our experiences through art.  

In anthropology, liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete.

In this show, we’ll go with you to different countries and identities, featuring work from Syrian photographer Abdul Aziz Doukhan, mixed media from Lebanon/Palestine by Hala Kaddoura, paintings by Ukrainian artist Maria Yanenko, (the uniquely Ukrainian ornamental style known as Petrykivka was placed on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013), Pakistani Canadian illustrator Noorulian Khan, and calligraphy work by Yemen’s Layle Omran. Each artwork tells a story of home, political reasons for fleeing, and glimpses of culture and heritage in paintings. 

The show begins on November 12, with an opening reception and fundraiser for Refugee Eye from 6-9:00 PM. We’ll have handmade embroidery gifts for sale by Tight Knit Syria. This non-profit organization works with displaced Syrian women and connects their beautifully handmade products to local and international markets and stickers by The Afghan Diva shop and more. 

About the Artists:

Layle Omeran: is a music artist and Arabic interpreter based in Berkeley, CA. A student of Arabic music, Layle has studied the Arabic oud with many renowned teachers and performs locally and, at times, regionally as an oudist and singer. Layle is a lead singer in the Bay Area Arabic Music Ensemble, Aswat, a musician in several community projects, and an oud teacher. With interests in the intersections of social justice, community music, and healing work, Layle's work explores narratives around identity and experience. Layle is also a Development Coordinator at the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA. Follow Layle on Instagram @laylomer

Hala Kaddoura: is an artist, cultural producer, and creative strategist. Hala grew up in Lebanon in the SWANA region and traveled to 4 continents and 15 countries. Hala, a 2022 UC Berkeley MFA Graduate in Art Practice, participated in the Los Angeles Review of Books Publishing Worksop (LARB). She received full scholarships to attend the UC Berkeley program and the LARB workshop. Hala also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Marketing and a minor in Sociology from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. 

Abdul Aziz Doukhan: A 23-year-old Syrian photographer, is based in Brussels. He was displaced in Syria shortly after the Syrian revolution started in 2011; then he managed to leave for Turkey in 2014; he learned digital art during his time there, but a couple of years after, the situation in Turkey got harder, and he left for Greece. 

in 2016 Abdulazez was 17 years old when he found himself stuck in Northern Greece Refugee camps for six months as the Greek-Macedonian borders closed. He volunteered with different organizations as an interpreter. Seeing how European media presented refugees as hopeless, dangerous, and ignorant people got him thinking of the reasons behind that. So he started doing photography with the help of other volunteers he worked with, who supported him with equipment. Quickly, his documentary photography was known as the insider eye of refugees, and people’s stories were spread. In April 2017, he left Greece and made it to Belgium. After retaking two years of high school, he graduated and entered university. He did his bachelor's degree in Computer Science and currently doing a master's in Artificial intelligence. Yet, his passion for photography is still there, and he takes part of the responsibility and works on documentary projects.

Maria Yaneko: Born and raised in the Petrykivka village, artist Maria Yanenko is continuing a long line of traditional painters who preserve this style. Yanenko is a prominent member of the National Union of Ukrainian Painters. Like her mother and her two sisters, she was trained in the Petrykivka style, as it is custom to have at least one Petrykivka painter in the family. Until now, the artist has never let her paintings leave the country. Art by Maria Yanenko, arranged by Art of Ukraine, a nonprofit created and run by two Ukrainian women. Art of Ukraine’s purpose is to preserve and popularize traditional Ukrainian art. "We believe that protecting folk art, authentic craftsmanship and ethnocultural aesthetic is the key to saving Ukrainian national identity from eradication during this war." - Founders Genie Gonchar and Polina Krasnova. 

Noorulian Khan: is a self-taught digital illustrator and UX designer based in Toronto, Canada. She tends to express the rich culture of South Asia through her artwork. She’s currently studying Design in college and looks forward to learning more and enhancing her craft. 



A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery

September 10- November 4

Opening Night Reception: Saturday, September 10

Contact: Raj Tawney, Publicist

Mirage, Refugee Eye Gallery’s fourth show, will feature two Syrian visual storytellers, Loubna Mrie and AlBaraa Hadad, who fled the war in their country, finding themselves in different parts of the world. Their photojournalism –– documentary style, black and white photographs –– displays elements of their journey, encountering other Syrian immigrants and refugees on their way to the Turkish and Greek borders. Mrie and Hadad’s personal stories represent the millions of Syrians who are scattered around the world. 

Refugee Eye continues to present voices from countries that have witnessed war and political upheaval, leaving people no choice but to escape for their lives and their children’s future. Our goal is to embrace the narratives of artists and empower their visual work by allowing others to see life through their eyes.

Mirage begins on September 10, featuring an opening reception from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM. Handmade gifts by Syrian artisans living in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. Also available: paintings and prints by Syrian refugee artist from al-Za’atri camp Malak Abo Alkhair, and handmade jewelry and ceramics by Syrian-American artist Lana Ramadan.

Also, don’t miss our Inktober Paint and Sip Party in October (TBD), celebrating painting month. Inktober is a 31-day art challenge in which you must create a piece of art every day during the entire month of October, but at Refugee Eye Gallery, we’ll focus together one day. Following the success of our first Paint and Sip Party, we’ve decided to do it again, but this time with a painting theme featuring specific prompts.

Refugee Eye Gallery

Location: 849 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. 

Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday—11 AM–6 PM. 

Phone: (646) 468-0450

About the Artists

AlBaraa Haddad is a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker with more than six years of experience. He began his journey as a documentary photographer in 2011. His personal experience has always impacted the projects he’s worked on and created. His work involves all aspects of the filmmaking process, including pre-production, production, post-production, scene planning, camera setups, lighting, composition, editing, coloring, and other technical aspects that play a significant role in reaching the potential of a visual project.

Loubna Mrie is a Syrian photographer, journalist, and writer. She covered the Syrian war as a photojournalist for Reuters. Her writing has been published in The Nation, Time Magazine, Vice, and The New Republic. She has been supported by Magnum Foundation, New America Foundation, MacDowell, and Yaddo fellowships. She is based in Oakland and currently writing her first book for Penguin Random House.

About Refugee Eye:

Refugee Eye is both an online platform and a physical gallery whose mission is to serve as a visual-storytelling hub devoted to exhibiting art by refugees from all over the world, spotlighting their stories of exile, and adding their perspectives to the public discourse in an attempt to build bridges between worlds in a time of building walls. Refugee Eye is the brainchild of Jehad al-Saftawi and his partner, Lara Aburamadan, asylum seekers who arrived in the Bay Area from Gaza City in 2016.


Rihla رحلة

A New Exhibit at Refugee Eye Gallery

July 1 – September 2 

Opening Night Reception: Saturday, July 9

Contact: Raj Tawney, Publicist

Rihla رحلة refers to a journey or a trip in Arabic. In Rihla, artist Lara Aburamadan invites viewers into her subconscious mind, on a journey of introspection and self-discovery, exploring questions of gender, dreams, and imagination. Through self-portraiture, Lara creates a world of her own, far away from the social, religious, and political restrictions she regularly experiences as a woman and an artist. Each artwork is an experiment with color and embodies the feeling of being free in her body.  

Rihla رحلة opens July 1 and runs through September 2. The opening night reception –– Saturday, July 9, 7–9 PM –– will feature live music performances by the artist’s musical friends from South West Asia and North Africa. This free public music event will support the artist and Refugee Eye Gallery and their efforts to showcase art by refugee and immigrant artists. 

Plus, don’t miss Refugee Eye Gallery’s Paint and Sip Party on August 6, 4-6 PM. There’s an 80s and 90s “cool kid” theme, so bring your playful selves and dress in your totally radical outfits to sip wine and paint at the gallery during this fun event. We’ll provide art supplies. Be sure to RSVP here.

Refugee Eye Gallery

Location: 849 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. 

Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday—11 AM–6 PM. 

Phone: (646) 468-0450

About the Artist:

Lara Aburamadan is a Palestinian multidisciplinary artist, journalist, and Co-founder of Refugee Eye from Gaza City. Lara’s style of painting seeks to express emotional experience rather than impressions of the external world.

Her photojournalism work has been featured in New York Times, The Atlantic, San Francisco Chronicle, VICE, and elsewhere. She also has been chosen by Time Magazine among 34 women photojournalists around the world that you should follow their work.  

About Refugee Eye:

Refugee Eye is both an online platform and a physical gallery whose mission is to serve as a visual-storytelling hub devoted to exhibiting art by refugees from all over the world, spotlighting their stories of exile, and adding their perspectives to the public discourse, in an attempt to build bridges between worlds in a time of building walls. Refugee Eye is the brainchild of Jehad al-Saftawi and his partner, Lara Aburamadan, asylum seekers who arrived in the Bay Area from Gaza City in 2016. 


Refugee Eye Gallery




San Francisco, CA –– Beginning May 10, Refugee Eye, a gallery founded by and dedicated to art by refugees, will present its second show, featuring twelve visual artists from Ukraine. Located at the McSweeney’s Building at 849 Valencia Street in San Francisco, the show will reflect the radical change in these artists’ lives since Russia invaded their sovereign nation.

According to the UNHCR, over 4 million Ukrainians have fled their country, 6.5 million are displaced within its borders, and an estimated 13 million are stranded in affected areas or unable to leave. We are confronted with the realities of a massive humanitarian crisis that is growing by the second. Refugee Eye feels a responsibility to present resilience in art by sharing the perspectives of new Ukrainian refugees. 

More Powerful Than Bullets opens May 10 and runs through June 25. On May 28, 7:30–9 PM, there will be a public fundraising event to support artists and their families and neighbors in Ukraine. The event will also feature exclusive video content and a talk with the show’s organizers. Location: 849 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday—11 AM–6 PM. Phone: (646) 468-0450.

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Anton Skyba

A photojournalist and media producer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He gave up his corporate photography career in Donetsk to start covering the conflict in Ukraine, first as a fixer and later as a photojournalist and media producer. He has worked with BBC, CBC, PBS, CNN, Vice, the Globe and Mail, La Croix, Huffington Post, RFE/RL, Knack, Fuji TV, CCTV, TBS, Slate, Zaborona, PAX, and Amnesty International.

Sergiy Yeremenko 

A journalist from Kryvyi Rih, he works for local Ukrainian news agencies, such as Vikna-Novyny and STB.

Konstantin Sova

He was a director of the Kyiv School of Photography. Now he takes pictures of what war did to Kyiv. 

Oleskii Kyrychenko

He graduated from photography art classes and worked as an engineer before the war. He lived in a small town near Kyiv; a few days after the war, his hometown was under a threat of capture by the Russian troops, so he left with his wife and children to Western Ukraine to their friends' house. He registered at military accounting but has not yet been mobilized due to the long queues.

Andre Magpie

From Kyiv, he studied architecture, but after finishing school, he decided to focus on art. When the war started, he chose to stay in Ukraine and continue to create art as his way to resist aggression and document history.  

Danylo Hovorov 

He was born in Donetsk, a part of Ukraine that was under Russian attack for eight years after Crimea was annexed. He has felt what war is like since 2014. In his own words: “Speak up however you can. Through art, music, literature, and social media. Speak to the world, to other countries, so that people can hear, unite, and live free.”

Stanislav Lunin

Stanislav is a conceptual artist. He was born in Lugansk and moved to Lviv, the heart of the art world in Ukraine. 

Volodymyr Prokhorenko

A conceptual artist who was born in the city of Lviv. Volodymyr’s focus now is on creating artwork that shows what is happening in this war.

Vitaliy Vorobyov 

A photographer from Lviv, Ukraine. Teacher and founder of his school of photography, he's also a traveler. He works in advertising, creates covers for books and magazines, photographs for charity projects, collaborates with show business stars, and participates in many thematic festivals and sporting events as an official photographer.

Tania Yakunova

Tania Yakunova (full name Tetiana Yakunova) is an award-winning illustrator and artist from Kyiv, Ukraine. She started her artistic journey in 2014 and has worked on projects from around the world. Her work consists of commercial, book, and editorial illustrations, as well as internationally exhibited personal artwork. Her art practice is a mix of illustration, fine art, and craft. Recently, she has started working with ceramic sculpture. She has made art for Apple, Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, the Washington Post, and others.

Sergey Grechanyuk

An art director and illustrator working in the film and game industries. 

Vlada Hladkova 

Experienced in game design, ZBrush, Unity3D, conceptual art, and user interface design, she has a bachelor’s degree in fashion and apparel design from the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts.

About Refugee Eye 

Refugee Eye is both an online platform and a physical gallery whose mission is to serve as a visual-storytelling hub for refugees from all over the world. We spotlight their stories of exile, and adding their perspectives to the public discourse, in an attempt to build bridges between worlds in a time of building walls. Refugee Eye is the brainchild of Jehad al-Saftawi and his partner, Lara Aburamadan, asylum seekers who arrived in the Bay Area from Gaza City in 2016. 








SAN FRANCISCO – Refugee Eye, a gallery devoted to art by refugees, opens March 11 at 849 Valencia Street. The gallery is located in the McSweeney’s building. The first show will feature photography by Jehad al-Saftawi, an asylum-seeker from Gaza.

The gallery is the brainchild of al-Saftawi and his partner, Lara Aburamadan, asylum seekers who arrived in the Bay Area from Gaza City in 2016. Al-Saftawi’s book of photographs, My Gaza: A City in Photographs, was published by McSweeney’s in 2020. In a starred review Kirkus described the book as, “Blistering portraits of a territory plagued by violence... atmospheric, visually moving.” Award-winning novelist Rabih Alameddine said, “This is an outstanding book. These gorgeous photos force us to look, to direct our unflinching gaze at a subject most of us usually ignore. They are both microscopic and universal in scope, beautifully poignant. Gaza is the land of two million prisoners. Jehad al-Saftawi is a wonderful guide into its heart.”

Refugee Eye will feature new shows every six weeks, always focusing on the refugee perspective.

“We believe Refugee Eye's gallery is a crucial forum to better the world's understanding of the modern refugee experience through this San Francisco window,” says Aburamadan.

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​​Refugee Eye, online and in the physical gallery, will feature refugee stories from all over the world, serving as a visual storytelling hub that offers refugees’ content to the public, attempting to create a bridge between worlds in a time of building walls—adding refugee perspectives to the public discourse by offering vivid stories from their exile environments.

“Our hope is to integrate more refugees' perspectives and bring truth to the policy debate,” says al-Saftawi. “Our programs help amplify the voices of individuals suppressed by authoritarian environments. By shedding light on inspiring young artists and the way they are challenging the status quo, we set the stage for the next courageous generation.”

“MY GAZA: A City In Photographs” opens March 11 and runs through May 8. There will be a public artist talk event with al-Saftawi on March 23 from 6 PM - 8 PM. Location: 849 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. Gallery Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday – 11 AM - 6 PM. Phone: (646) 468-0450.

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