ATHENS DAY 1
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We met with a group of Syrian and Iranian refugee artists at the Vila Café in Athens.
We met with a group of Syrian and Iranian refugee artists at the Vila Café in Athens, Greece, to introduce ourselves and discuss the journey behind their music and art. Hussein Badran showed us some examples of the art he made, including a hyper-realistic, experiential depiction of the tent that was his home in a refugee camp when he first arrived in Europe. He showed us a surrealist mural that he painted in five days, working from seven in the morning to five in the evening, symbolizing his endeavors from the chaos of Syria towards peace and growth. Now he is working on developing a more naïve style of expressing the struggles of war in paint. Mehrdad Mehrabpour, another artist, and an Iranian refugee, was very eager to show us examples of his more visceral, intuitive art, depicting daily life in Iran and the camps. He carried his drawings with him in his backpack and showed us a portfolio of an art show that he had participated in recently. Both he and Hussein are accomplished musicians, playing in a folkloric tradition, and endeavoring to carry it to the peoples of Europe. Hussein told us that he and another musician were working on incorporating Dabkke, a traditional Syrian folkloric dance, with hip-hop. They were very excited to speak with us about their musical route and explore plans to meet with other musicians living in the refugee camps of Athens. They knew of a DIY music studio in the camps, in the temporary housing containers where the producer lives with his family. We will be meeting with Hussein tomorrow morning to visit Merhdad in the camp where he lives with his family. We are looking forward to learning more about them, the journey continues!