A Pop-Up Gallery in the Middle East

refugee children's art

This is a story from one of our Art as Mission team members who is planning to move to the Middle East long-term in the future.

I recently led a trip to the Middle East comprised of several lovely ladies. This trip was focused on encouraging the long-term work of our team, hosting a pop-up art gallery, and essentially creating disciples in a place that has little to no access to the Gospel.

During our first week, we were able to participate in the weekly distribution of aid packages to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. We set up to teach an art class in the kids play room with watercolors, colored pencils, and paper ready for the onslaught of children. They trickled in 2 or 3 at a time, shy and unsure of what the heck these white art ladies were doing in their play room. Slowly but surely, with our little bit of Arabic and various hand movements, we were able to encourage them and get them to paint little works of art.

Later on in the week we worked in the new cafe opened by the team’s coffee roasting business and went into the pieces the children had made with ink, pushing them into cohesive works of art.

The children’s pieces, along with other pieces created by artists from America, comprised an art show: Let Us Make.

We left the first city for the coast, where we set up our pop-up art show. Connecting with the church in this second city was a beautiful thing. They helped us get the pop-up gallery together, made several trips via moped to get supplies to create the display, spent hours in the sun, and joined us each night as we exhibited to talk with passersby. Many conversations came up naturally and Jesus’s name was spoken in a place that barely knows it. That’s something to be excited about.

We do these things to see disciples made in places that have not heard about how Jesus saves. We make art and talk about our lives and live this way because we believe that these people are loved by God, that they are precious, and that hope is present and on its way to the country. When I imagine God’s Kingdom in the Middle East, I can imagine more art, community, and joy.

I’m hoping and praying for more people to have this vision and for them to take steps towards seeing this come to fruition. It’s a good place to be.

-K. P.