One of the paintings under the porticos in Bologna. Credit: GVC
One of the paintings under the porticos in Bologna. Credit: GVC

The words of those who fled the war in Syria are now on the walls of central Bologna with illustrations as part of a campaign entitled 'What I Have Seen' by the GVC humanitarian organization in collaboration with the Bologna-based artist Stefano Ricci.

Refugees suspended between the war in Syrian and survival in Lebanon are having their say in Bologna: their stories, along with illustrations, will be seen by pedestrians along the porticos on Bologna streets until October 15.  


The campaign, entitled 'What I Have Seen', was organized by the GVC humanitarian organization in collaboration with the Bologna-based artist Stefano Ricci. It is being promoted through the spaces part of the CHEAP on Board circuit.

Refugee voices on walls

One of the stories illustrated is that of Mohannad, who fled Aleppo at age 16 and now works as a hair stylist in Lebanon after seeing many of his friends die in Syria. 

Or Hayfi, the oldest woman in the Raas Baalbek camp. ''Before the war began, we were doing very well. When they began fighting in our village we managed to resist for a year and then we had to leave,'' the woman said, according to one of the illustrations. 

''We were farmers. We had a lot of land and cows. We lost everything. We fled with the clothes we had on our backs. Nothing else.'' 

Overcoming indifference

The aim of GVC and CHEAP is to make it so that ''all those who cross central Bologna can move beyond being accustomed to things as they are and indifference, diving into a series of posters in the urban landscape that shake up urban reference points,'' said GVC's Flavio Tier, who coordinated the project and the campaign. ''Instead of advertising, on the walls will be pages of a journey that takes you to Lebanon and Syria,'' he added. 

The organization said in a statement that GVC provides professional training and help with starting careers both for Syrian refugees and Lebanese citizens in the Bekaa Valley thanks to support from the Italian Development Cooperation Agency. It aims to prevent social conflicts by bringing the two groups together in their search for employment. 
 

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