Artist Collects Stories From the Hearts of Syrians

Al-Fanar Media   April 8, 2018


LONDON — Since 2013, Spanish artist and filmmaker Juan delGado has been collecting and publishing the personal stories of Syrian people, both those still in Syria as well as those who have fled.

The goal of the project—whose Arabic name, Qisetna, means “our stories”—is to create a record of the experiences of ordinary Syrian life in a way that is separate from the daily account of politics and civil war.

Juan delGado received the top prize for excellence in 2017 from the Community Heritage and Archives Group (Photo: Erik Ortiz Sanchez).

According to the U.K.-based Community Heritage and Archives Group, which awarded the project its top prize for excellence in 2017, Qisetn is “an extraordinary example of an archive preserving the voices of displaced and fractured communities for the future and acting as an engine of community resilience in the present.”

There are plans to expand the project. In southern Turkey, there are an estimated 20,000 Syrian children — orphans because of the war. “We want to do a workshop with them on storytelling,” delGado said,  “to build a community including them and the adults who look after them.” This will be part of the therapy to help these orphans cope with their shattered lives.


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