“You are not Alone” Exhibition – Berlin 2021

You are not alone
03.09.2021 – 13.09.2021 in Salon Am Moritzplatz, Berlin.
Opening: 18:00 Friday 03.09.21
Daily 14:00 to 22:00

While the isolation imposed by governments worldwide during the Covid-19 pandemic protected us from the dangers of a contagious virus, it also exposed us to the ever growing threat of separation on our psychological and social health. In these challenging times only our collective awareness that none of us are in this alone — that human beings everywhere on this planet face the same threat — allowed us to keep our solidarity, our togetherness and our strength while in quarantine.

This exhibition is a collective effort and joint statement from 180 artists around the globe that we stand together and that we will always find our space to create, adapt and stand strong.

These 300 multiple-medium artworks are the result of an open call released in March 2020 by the Penticton art gallery in Canada,the Syria.art Association (Nice/Berlin) and the Online Cyrrus Gallery celebrating a strong and creative partnership and demonstrating the ability of art in bringing people together.

These works will be kept as an archive to serve as a time capsule, a permanent document of
this moment in our collective history. The collection will be made available for loan to other
galleries and museums across the globe and in a permanent online exhibition. The exhibition
was shown in Penticton, Canada in September 2020 and will be shown in Nice, France in 2022.

Curated by Humam Alsalim and Paul Crawford.

You are not alone ! International Call for Artists

During this time of self isolation, the Penticton Art Gallery (Penticton, B.C., Canada) in partnership with the Syria.art association (Nice/Berlin), invites artists from across the globe to participate in an unprecedented art exhibition entitled, You Are Not Alone.

Like a message in a bottle, we are sending out into the world this call to artists working in any and all media, to serve as a testament of our resiliency, creativity, and our collective humanity in the face of these extraordinary times. We hope this exhibition will not only celebrate the power of art, but will serve as a poignant testament and celebration of our diversity, culture, and an important reminder, that regardless of where we live on this planet, we are not alone.

In an age where our society was already becoming increasingly insular, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic serves to only isolate us even more. In the spirit of the penpal and mail art movement, this exhibition will create a permanent and physical document of our existence in this unprecedented moment in history.

This is your opportunity to reach out to a global audience and share your story and celebrate the beauty and creativity you have brought into this world through your art and by your existence. More now than ever, we need to come together to celebrate our collective humanity in all its diversity of colours, shapes, and sounds.

As part of this project, one can connect and share their art with a global network of artists. Our hope is that through the act of sharing, deep, rich, and meaningful connections will develop that will not only bring us together but may help build bridges of friendship and understanding. No one is immune to this pandemic and we hope this will help us to get through this time by allowing us to share our stories, celebrate our diversity, mourn our losses, and heal as a planet.

Submission Information:

Submission of physical works are to be no larger than 11” x 14″
All the 2D works will be matted and stored in crystal clear bags
3D works will be dealt with on an individual basis
Video and audio are also welcome and will be complied online.

Closing date: 01.July 2020 (This date might change if the pandemic lasted longer)

Phyiscal works can be sent to:
Paul Crawford c/o The Penticton Art Gallery
199 Marina Way
Penticton, British Columbia
V2A 1H5 Canada
Email: curator@pentictonartgallery.com

Houmam Alsaleim
Fischerinsel 4
10179 Berlin
Email: Syria-art@outlook.com

Khaled Youssef
590 avenue de la Paix
06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin
Email: asso.syria.art@hotmail.com
* All submissions will be fully documented and uploaded to a virtual exhibition

Digital submissions, including audio and video, can be sent to:

Humam Alsalim
Email: Syria-art@outlook.com

In addition to the online exhibition which will include all the works, a curated and selected version of the works will be included in a physical exhibition at the Penticton Art Gallery (September 2020 as a first plan),the exhibition will hopefully travel to europe to multiple venues. They will also remain as a permanent online exhibition that will be curated and built based on the artworks submitted.

Due to the nature of the exhibition, the works will not be returned. They will be kept as an archive, a time capsule, a document of this moment in our cultural history, by the Penticton Art Gallery. The collection will be made available for loan to other galleries and museums across the globe.

With each submission please include the following information:

Artist Name:
Contact information:
Brief Statement:
Brief Biography:

For more information please contact:

Humam Alsalim, Founder/Curator at Syria.art and the Cyrrus Online Gallery
Email: Syria-art@outlook.com
Phone: +4917644465896
Web: https://atomic-temporary-49913675.wpcomstaging.com/, https://en.syriaartasso.com/

Paul Crawford Curator Penticton Art Gallery
Email: curator@pentictonartgallery.com
Phone: (250) 493-2928
Web: www.pentictonartgallery.com

We thank you all for your time and consideration. Due to the nature of this exhibition, and the fact we are all volunteering our time and creative energy, we are unable to pay artist fees. In the spirit of the mail art movement we are organizing this exhibition to serve as a collective affirmation of our creative resilience in light of our shared experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said should there be some opportunities in the future for revenue to be generated from this project, the revenue will be shared amongst all of the participating artists equally.

We want this to project to be as accessible as possible. We will be creating an online exhibition featuring all the submissions, as well as a physical exhibition that will be easy to transport and display. It will be made available to any museums or galleries interested in hosting this exhibition at a date in the future. Please feel free to reach out and contact Humam Alsalim or Paul Crawford for more information regarding this call for artists, or to make arrangements for hosting this exhibition at your venue.

Thank you all again for your time and consideration of this project and we wish you all good health and hope that you, your family, and community remain safe during this global crises.

Behind the Lines | Contemporary Syrian Art

A Travelling Exhibition Across Canada

Behind the Lines | Contemporary Syrian Art is travelling across Canada since 2016 until today with a new stop at Dawson Creek Art Gallery, 101, 816 Alaska Avenue Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4T6 Canada, January 28 – March 8, 2019.

Behind the Lines displays the work of 20 contemporary Syrian artists, first shown 2016 at the Penticton Art Gallery. The pieces are from a range of mediums, including sculpture, painting, drawing, mixed media, digital art and photography:

Omran Younis, Obaidah Zorik, Huda Takriti, Reem Tarraf, Maiesam Mallisho, Fadi Al Hamwi, Mahmood Al Daoud, Alaa Sharabi, Juhayda AlBitar, Mohammad Zaza, Lina Malki, Khaled Dawwa,  Ali Almeer, Khaled Youssef, Khaled Akil,  Ammart Khadour, Humam Alsalim, Rami Bakhos, Fadi Al Hamwi, Huda Takriti.

The first exhibition at the Penticton Art Gallery was co-curated by Penticton Art Gallery Curator – Paul Crawford and Syrian architect Humam Alsalim. Alsalim is the founder of Cyrrus Gallery, an online platform for the promotion of contemporary Syrian artists, and the co-founder of the non-for-profit SYRIA.ART – Association pour la Promotion de l’Art Contemporain Syrien that seeks to provide a diverse, open overview of the Syrian art scene, and to shed light upon the dynamism currently characterising Contemporary Syrian Art in Syria, Europe and the rest of the world.


In the midst of a conflict that has gripped the entire world, a connection created through art is thus bringing Canada and Syria closer together. Art has always been a venue for human expression in all cultures, and sometimes it seems the greatest pieces arise from our times of deepest suffering. With no end in sight to the current violence in the Middle East, some Syrians are turning to art as a way of coping and expressing to the world what the conflict is costing their country.

Syrian architect Humam Alsalim and Penticton Art Gallery Curator – Paul Crawford collaborated in 2015 via the internet to arrange for 100 works of art by these 20 Syrian artists to be sent out from behind the lines of the Syrian War to be first exhibited at the Penticton Art Gallery.

“This work is powerful, raw and striking and I think could be the most important exhibitions I have undertaken. I am indebted to Humam Alsalim for curating this exhibition from his home in Damascus. It’s been a real feat of trust on both sides and I think we are both in awe that it has come all together on time and as planned. In total he has brought together the following 20 artists some of whom are still living in Syria and some of whom have fled and re-established themselves outside of Syria.” Crawford explains.

Behind the Lines | Contemporary Syrian Art aims to explore conflict zones and to see the people of Syria through art. Most of the 20 artists featured here still live in Syria. They come from places made familiar through news reports like Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. Many are now in Damascus. Some have left Syria altogether.

Crawford has described the work as “a testament to the capacity of the human spirit”. He added, “I hope these exhibitions will help build an even greater understanding of the Syrian people, their art and culture.”


The works all reference the devastating situation in Syria or are informed by it. Humam Alsalim and Rami Bakhos’ Cultural Beheading series mourns and rages against both literal and metaphorical destruction. The body parts in Omran Younis’s paintings are a graphic reminder of the horrors of war. Those depicted in Lina Malki’s Displaced series have a palpable sorrow. Fadi al-Hamwi’s large paintings of X-rayed cow hybrids discloses the brutal animality of the human and how war provokes and exposes the dark side of humanity. Khaled Dawwa’s clay sculptures that appear to be vandalized or corroded by time are informed by his own experience: He was injured in a 2013 bombing, then arrested, imprisoned, and now exiled. Khaled Youssef’s photographs of bubbles are tragic in their fragility yet childlike, as the artist says, “Make bubbles not war”.

Behind the Lines is not for the faint of heart, but it also affirms the incredible capacity of the human spirit to not only survive the most unimaginable circumstances, but thrive. For those still living in Syria there are few opportunities to exhibit and as such they have nothing left to lose and are making art for the sake of art. Individually and collectively their powerful work stands as a testament to their existence and hopefully will inspire similar voices not only in Syria but also here in Canada. This exhibition is meant to build a greater understanding of the Syrian People, their art, rich culture, history and the turmoil their country is undergoing.

“Over the last year I could have never predicted or even fathomed how relevant this shows would become due to the change in our government and the influx of all these Syrian refugees to our communities,” Crawford says.

Tour History:

Penticton Art Gallery, Penticton, BC Canada
July 8 – September 11, 2016

Duncan United Church, 246 Ingram St, Duncan, BC Canada
November 27 – December 3, 2016

Brentwood College School,  Mt Baker Rd, Mill Bay, BC Canada
December 10 – 17, 2016

Yukon Art Center, College Drive, Whitehorse, Yukon Canada
December 08, 2016 – February 25, 2017

Gallery at The Military Museums, University of Calgary, Alberta Canada
October 12, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, 3220 Cedar Hill Road, Victoria BC Canada
January 24 – February 5, 2018

Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Arts Council (SSAC), 114 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC Canada
February 16 – February 25, 2018

Langley Centennial Museum & Exhibition Centre, 9135 King St, Langley, BC V1M 2S2 Canada
Juni 9, 2018 – September 3, 2018

Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford, 32388 Veterans Way, Abbotsford BC V2T 0B3 Canada
September 27, 2018 – January 06, 2019

Dawson Creek Art Gallery, 101, 816 Alaska Avenue Dawson Creek, BC V1G 4T6 Canada
January 28 – March 8, 2019


– Paul Crawford, Penticton, British Colombia, Canada, Director of Penticton Art Gallery.

– Humam Alsalim, Berlin, Germany, founder of Cyrrus Gallery and the co-founder of the non-for-profit SYRIA.ART – Association pour la Promotion de l’Art Contemporain Syrien.