ArtServe Gives Voice to Syrian Plight

Virtual Art Exhibition Includes Limited Private In-Person Tours Sept. 1 through Oct. 23rd

Debris in Aleppo by Tony Khawam

Throughout the history of human conflict, entire cultures have often been all but obliterated simply through the weaponized destruction of artwork.  But in war-torn Syria beset for years by suffering, death and chaos, the resilience of its artists perseveres in conveying the nation’s urgent story worldwide.

ArtServe, South Florida’s award-winning arts services organization that is advancing the arts for social good, will help Syrian artists deliver their message in a full-scale exhibition entitled “Emerging Art From War-Torn Syria: War & Hope” that will run both virtually and in-person from Tuesday, September 1 through Friday, October 23rd.

Curated by Syrian-American artist Tony Khawam of Khawam Galleries of Miami and New York, together with ArtServe Curator Sophie Bonet, “War & Hope” showcases works by Syrian and Syrian-American artists who began a new phase of their artistic careers in response to the Syrian War. Their paintings weave contemporary images of the physical and virtual worlds together with emotions wrought by the War and memories from their cultural heritage.

Since initial COVID-19 closures left its facility temporarily shuttered in March, Broward-based arts incubator ArtServe has continued to deliver its mission through a near-daily series of virtual events dubbed “ArtServe Live.” To support “War & Hope,” ArtServe will apply its newfound successful virtual formula to create a first-ever virtual art exhibition facility tour, punctuated by adjunct online chats, performances and lectures available free of charge to attend through the “ArtServe Live” Zoom and Facebook events page here:

“This exhibition is the product of a year-long curatorial collaboration with Tony Khawam.  It’s an authentic celebration of art, culture and human resilience, and a reflection of ArtServe’s commitment to diversity and cultural awareness,” Bonet said.  “We’re excited to present ‘War & Hope’ virtually, because we are literally now offering the world the opportunity to experience this significant collection through our website, as well as participate in our supporting programming through ‘ArtServe Live’ that includes lectures, performing arts, film and discussions.”

“War & Hope” represents two generations of artists who have enjoyed long careers in contemporary visual art both within Syria and abroad.  Some traveled to Europe and America, where they earned advanced degrees, while others returned to Syria, where they are still living and working.  American and German expressionism thus influences much of the work on display.

“Their paintings are a grand testimony of human suffering and survival whether spiritual or physical, especially in times of war,” Khawam explained, adding that several of the artists who have returned to live in Syria serve as professors of art at Damascus University have influenced many of the new artists in the “War & Hope” exhibition.


See “War & Hope” Online or In-Person

Beginning September 1, ArtServe will open for free in-person one-hour guided tours of “War & Hope,” for groups of fewer than 10 people and by pre-registration or appointment only.

ArtServe’s “War & Hope” opening week in-person tour schedule is:

  • Thursday, September 3rd: 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
  • Friday, September 4th: 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm
  • Saturday, September 5th: 2pm, 3pm

Online registration for opening week in-person tours can be done here.

Appointments for subsequent in-person tours can be scheduled until October 23 by calling Sophie Bonet at ArtServe (954) 462-8190 or

During in-person tours, ArtServe will observe strict adherence to Broward County COVID protocols, which includes the mandatory wearing of face masks covering the nose and mouth at all times, pre-entry temperature checks, along with the practice of social distancing.  Hand sanitizer will be provided.

The full “War & Hope” virtual exhibit will be available online 24/7 September 1 through October 30 through the website or the ArtServe Facebook page. During the entire exhibit, ArtServe will also stream live gallery tours with curator Tony Khawam through its website, Instagram and Facebook.

Free Virtual Events

A full slate of free “War & Hope” virtual events has been scheduled for “ArtServe Live.” All events are accessible via Facebook Live or Zoom on the ArtServe Facebook events page here:

(Zoom links are provided inside each individual event page).

Thurs., Sept. 3

3 to 4 p.m. | ArtChat & Lecture about Syrian-American History by Artist and Curator Tony Khawam
An introduction to the “War & Hope” exhibition and lecture on Syrian American history and Syrian arts and culture contributions to the United States.

Tues., Sept. 8

6 to 7 p.m. | Film Screening of “The Arab Americans” by Film Director Abe Kasbo

Screening of the documentary film entitled “The Arab American Experience,” followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director, Abe Kasbo.

Wed., Sept. 9

6 to 7 p.m. | Middle Eastern Melodies:  Music & Poetry

Special performance and demonstration of classical Aleppian and Andalusian music by singer/poet Jorge Kouz and organist Tony Tahan.

Wed., Sept. 16

6 to 7 p.m. | Chat with TED talk & food blogger Tony Tahhan on Syrian Food 

A chat, presentation and Q&A with TED talk & food blogger Tony Tahhan.

ArtServe has been named a “2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews of charities and nonprofits.