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Aerosol Ali’s mural on Greenwich Mosque wall highlights Syrian crisis

29th Mar 2019
Aerosol Ali’s mural on Greenwich Mosque wall highlights Syrian crisis

(Photo courtesy of Islamic Relief UK)

Graffiti artist, Mohammed “Aerosol” Ali, sprayed a wall around the Greenwich Mosque to mark the 8th anniversary of the Syrian conflict and to highlight Islamic Relief UK’s Day of Innocence campaign.

The larger-than-life mural on Plumstead Road captures the spirit of the Syrian refugee children Ali met during a visit to Bekaa Valley refugee camp in Lebanon. The camp, which hosts around 350,000 refugees who are almost entirely dependent on aid, is situated in the mountains and close to the Syrian border.

The artist, who was visiting the area with Islamic Relief UK, was inspired by the innocent play of the children in the camp. Despite the freezing cold temperatures, the crowded tent structures and the backdrop of war, he was struck by how the children still managed to find ways to use the small area available to them as their own playground.

Ali said: “I wanted to capture a moment in time and bring that and the camp to the streets of London. These children are real; they are living and playing in freezing conditions right now. They rely on charitable handouts for food and fuel. I want to give people in the UK a window into their world. An image that bursts onto the streets, that’s immediate and accessible and that says war isn’t just a game we see on the TV. It kills innocent people and childhoods.”

The children he worked with are taking part in an educational programme that uses art, drama and music to develop life skills, nurture social cohesion and help participants overcome trauma. One of the aims of the centre is to give children affected by war and conflict the opportunity to enjoy the innocence of childhood again.

Islamic Relief UK’s Day of Innocence is an annual campaign, launched for the first time this year, to remember the tens of thousands of innocent civilians whose lives have been lost to war, and to highlight the millions who have survived and still need our help.

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