Dark to Light, an exhibition of paintings by Syrian refugee children

December 2021 and January 2022

Athol Public Library

Dark to Light, an exhibition of paintings by Syrian refugee children participating in expressive arts therapy, is currently on view in the Conference Room at the Athol Public Library.

The works are part of the PTSD trauma support program patients participate in in Amman, Jordan. Dark to Light: A Syrian Child's Journey, is an evocative and revealing exhibition of their work.

These expressive paintings are on loan to us from Syrian refugee children who have crossed the border into neighboring Jordan, where they receive prosthetics, rehabilitation and psychological trauma care.

Expressions of both horror and hope, these images reveal a continuum of recovery reflecting powerful emotions the children feel, but often do not have the words to express. Over the course of the therapeutic process the subject matter slowly shifts its focus from dark to light, death to life.

The Athol Public Library is hosting this exhibit in collaboration with the Polus Center and Marlena Word of Petersham. Since 2013 the Polus Center has been working closely with various rehabilitation centers throughout Amman to provide injured Syrian children with mobility devices and rehabilitation services, including artificial limbs, wheelchairs, braces, physical therapy & psychological care.

Marlena Word is a senior at Quabbin Regional High School in Barre and has volunteered at the Polus Center for Social and Economic Development throughout her high school career. Drawn to the Polus Center’s mission to help people with disabilities here in MA and around the world, Marlena continues to find inspiration and lend her support through volunteer work.

About Dark to Light, Marlena says: “Upon first seeing the children's expressive art, I was moved by their efforts to pursue recovery despite their serious afflictions. They expressed a desire to conquer the difficulties brought to them by life, a resolution that is truly admirable. These paintings carry with them a powerful message of the realities of war, portraying the traumatic experiences faced by the children along with their hopes for the future. While the work exhibited reveals an incredible resilience within the children along with the Polus Center's efforts to provide the prosthetics and therapy necessary for recovery, it also highlights the true impacts of conflict and war. By bringing this exhibit to the Athol Library in a time of great division within our own country, I hope to remind people of the true effects of excessive violence and raise awareness for the conflicts in Syria.”

For more information please visit the Polus Center website https://www.poluscenter.org/Jordan

Free and Open to the Public.

On view during library open hours.