09 August 2006

Workshop in Aleppo on the occasion of the International Children's Day

Azad-Hye, Dubai, 09 August 2006: Hamazkayin's "Arshile Gorky" art school in Aleppo organized an outstanding art event in the city's Public Park, where children from Arabic and Armenian art schools took part.

Invitations for participation were sent to Aleppo's different Arabic and Armenian art schools for this one-day workshop. This event was part of the activities of "Aleppo: Capital of Islamic Culture 2006", coinciding also with the "International Children's Day". The participant students were 6 to 12 years old.

Students from "Mardiros Sarian" art school, the Arabic charitable association "Al-Ikha'a" (Brotherhood) for children with special needs and another local school accepted the invitation.

The municipality of Aleppo, considering the importance of this event, announced it as part of the celebrations dedicated to "International Children's Day", taking part between 8 to 13 July. Normally this celebration occurs every year in Damascus, but Aleppo's municipality wished to include it this year in the activities of "Aleppo: Capital of Islamic Culture 2006", under the patronage of Riad Na'asan Agha, Minister of Culture.

In the morning of 9 July 2006 Aleppo's Public Park was full of life with young artists. At 11 a.m. the Minister, accompanied by officials and government representatives (Malak Yasin, Director of Children's Department in the Ministry of Culture; Mohammad Al Sissi, UNICEF Regional Director; Kamel Kattan, Director of Aleppo's Cultural Centre; Ma'an Shebli, Mayor of Aleppo) visited the location.

They were all greeted at the entrance by Nerses Khederian (Head of Hamazkayin's Nigol Aghpalian Section) and Sonia Kaprielian (Director of "Arshile Gorky" art school).

Sonia Kaprielian gave a briefing to the Minister and his entourage about the Armenian community, the activities of Hamazkayin and in particular "Arshile Gorky" art school. She explained that this event addresses the children of Aleppo, spreading a message of love to the world through their work. This effort was highly appreciated and admired by Minister Na'asan Agha.

Al Sissi (UNICEF Regional Director for Syria, Lebanon and Jordan) also showed great interest. He declared that such an event was never seen before in Syria. He requested to have the event documented and photographed as reference to UNICEF’s different offices.

All the children participating in this activity were dressed in similar T-shirts. Their heads were covered with caps protecting them from the heat and on the T-shirts they carried colourful badges, showing their schools. At every corner, sponsor "NestlŠ¹" company's van was providing cold drinks quenching the thirst of the children and the visitors.

The children were busy drawing with chalk and paints. No time for naughtiness! They worked in groups of 4-5 person each. One group painted Aleppo's citadel and its guardian Abu Firas Al-Hamadani, whose statue is situated at the entrance of Aleppo's public park. Others chose simpler subjects; the sea or Cinderella, etc. The view was spectacular!.

The event was covered by many TV channels; Syrian, Iranian, Jordanian TVs and Spacetoon channel. Some of them interviewed the little artists. They also interviewed Sonia Kaprielian. She emphasized that this event was organized by Aleppo's Armenian community, dedicated to the city of Aleppo. She also thanked the municipality for all the support and help it provided.

"Arshile Gorky" art school's administrative board highly valued the efforts of two of the instructors: Leda Guluzian and Vartkes Barsoumian, whose efforts helped in the success of the event.

On the park's stairs the children drew the logo of "Aleppo: Capital of Islamic Culture 2006" and the logo of "International Children's Day". The scene was very touching, when at the end, the children together with the help of their parents raised the 3 meters long and 6 meters wide Syrian flag painted in 3 parts. To end the ceremony, Kaprielian drew the logo of "Arshile Gorky" art school. A memorial photo was taken including all the participants and organizers.

Thanks to "Mardiros Sarian" art school's administrators and their teacher Ella, also thanks to "Al-Ikha'a" association for children with special needs and to A’ahed Bredy for her hard work.

This unique event definitely will have a positive impact in the future and will leave its marks in Aleppo's cultural history.

Source: Syria's Hamazkayin website:
Article posted in Armenian at the above website on 09 July 2006

For more information on the activities of Arshile Gorky art school, please contact Sonia Kaprielian at: sonikap51@hotmail.com

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