5. Artist Assam Kourbaj Exhibits Another Day Lost at Trinity Church
“Art as Advocacy: Another Day Lost” by artist Assam Kourbaj. Photo via artist website.
Inside the gates of Trinity Church on Broadway, you will notice two tents which are part of the art installation “Art As Advocacy: Another Day Lost.” The installation brings home the plight of millions of Syrian refugees who have been uprooted from their homes and are now living in camps. First conceived by Syrian artist Assam Kourbaj, after seeing aerial imagery of these camps in the Jordanian desert, he created the installation as a way for the world to reflect on the current situation in Syria.
The Trinity Church courtyard installation consist of a blue tent next to a white tent – one containing a widening spiral of burnt matches with a symbolic tent at the center. The second tent houses a miniature tent city, surrounded by a fence. The matches represent the number of days that have passed since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, with one match added to the artwork every day the conflict continues. More than 1,730 days have passed. Hundreds of tiny tents are made from waste materials, symbolizing wasted lives. Some of the miniature tents have Kourbaj’s distinctive black lines based on Arabic calligraphy and traditional mourning ribbons.
Around the installation are signs with the hashtags #artasadvocacy and #refugeeswelcome, encouraging visitors to participate in the global social media campaign to welcome refugees. Inside the Parish Center, visitors are invited to interact with the installation by burning matches and building miniature tents that adorn the walls of the Trinity Parish Center, which is a public space. Kourbaj’s hope is that the interactive nature of the installation will engage visitors in the Syrian refugee crisis and thoughtful conversation.
Funds raised from “Another Day Lost” will be split between Medicines Sans Frontiers and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). “Art is Advocacy: Another Day Lost” will be on view through January 5.