In 2014, Artmongers first asked their local community in London to support their intention to work in Azraq Camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, using all the skills and processes developed through the last 15 years of making participatory art in adversity. Together with local community charity Bold Vision, some crowdfunding, and a lot of community goodwill, they made that first visit hosted by CARE International in Jordan.
This month, after four years alongside CARE International in Jordan, in partnership with UNHCR, of piloting creative ideas to improve wellbeing at the camp, we returned to develop our two primary lines of work further. These are ‘Hope Circles’, guided conversations that connect isolated women in the camp, and ‘Mosaic Park’, a collaborative transformation of a vast area in the centre of the camp into a lively desert artwork that contributes to a sense of togetherness.
During this most recent visit,Catherine introduced 4 new trauma release techniques to staff and refugees, encouraging them to teach each other so the ideas started to spread virally in the camp. Patricio formed a team of ‘Change Makers’ with volunteers, and collaborated with two Syrian artists working in the camp, Samir and Abu Abdallah. Together they developed a new technique to create sustainable ‘Azraq Mosaics’ on the ground. Their purpose is to visually enhance the long walks from village to village, creating focal points and positive change. Different groups will be engaged in the design process to increase inclusivity. Our ambition is to create over 100 mosaics and rename the zone: Mosaic Park.