Since 2011 disturbing news from Syria abound in our media. In most cases, journalists report mainly about excessive violence and brutality, the Syrian population who is bearing the burden of the conflict, appears as a grey mass of victims, rather than as individuals.
The project “Cutting away the Void" by the artist couple Nora und Fritz Best seeks to put the ordinary Syrians back into focus. The exhibition presents portraits of Syrian refugees in Jordan together with the results of a workshop conducted with refugee children.
Nora and Fritz Best travelled to the Jordanian capital Amman in December 2013. Driven by the wish to make a statement against violence and to seek ways, in which to help the Syrian population come to terms with their dramatic experiences, they produced a series of linocuts with wounded adults and children. Each image bears witness to a life left behind or a traumatic experience.
During the day, the artists worked with women and men who were being treated at the “House of the Syrian Wounded“. In the evening, they offered courses for children. Many children cannot go to school, there are not sufficient places. Those who go to school are taught in the afternoon, after the Jordanian children, the teachers working double shifts. Many of these children have suffered traumas, traumas that often have not been addressed, but that surfaced during conversations with them.
For the artists, trauma relief and documentation was central. Working with linocut technique means starting with a black, negative surface instead of a white one. The image appears as material is cut away. Learning an artisanal, artistic technique and talking about their experiences during the workshops offered the participants the possibility to face painful memories and to regain a feeling of empowerment.
In September 2014 Nora and Fritz Best received the “Art Raker Award for Innovation in Narrative“ of the British organization Art Raker.