Refugee Eye Gallery

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LIMINAL

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. 

 
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MIRAGE

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.

 
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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. 

 

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Refugee Eye Gallery

Presents: 

MORE POWERFUL THAN BULLETS

TWELVE UKRAINIAN VISUAL ARTISTS 

 

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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–– FEATURED ARTISTS ––


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. 

 

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NEW GALLERY DEDICATED TO

ART BY 

REFUGEES

FIRST SHOW:

MY GAZA: A CITY IN PHOTOGRAPHS”

BY JEHAD AL-SAFTAWI

 

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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