From Syria, Alswayda; seeking a Vocational degree in Fine Arts and is enrolled at Wood Stamp Printing Revival Project.
My name is Fadi Almelhem. I was born in the southern Syrian province of As Suwayda. Although I had a passion for the arts, my high school marks allowed me to study mechanical production at the industrial school in Damascus. I later had the opportunity to follow my passion for art and, in 2013, I enrolled in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University.
I graduated from the Department of Engraving and Printmaking in 2018.
Fleeing Syria for nearby Lebanon was my only option for a future after graduation.
It was a costly decision, as I have not been able to work in my field. Since the pandemic began, I have been forced to stop working altogether and had to rely solely on my minimal savings.
Even before the pandemic, the cultural and artistic scene in Lebanon was devastated by a financial crisis. Despite the challenges, I am using this down time to develop plans for future projects. I want to pursue my dream and contribute to the artistic narrative of my culture and my country.
By celebrating Syrian traditional crafts and trying to revive old practices, I want to show others just how rich our history is and its mark on the world. I want to also teach these crafts to others by creating accessible online tutorials and content.
I wish to speak to my community through my art, and to create curiosity about Syrian heritage, society and old traditions that deserve to be remembered and celebrated.
Why Would Donors Fund You?
Crafts such as wood stamp printing are becoming extinct as a result of the ongoing war and the reliance of digital methods and mass production. The vast majority of wood stamps from Syria have already been destroyed or acquired privately. Their disappearance also means the loss of symbols and motifs that are a window into Syria’s little known history, traditions and culture.
This fundraiser will support me to:
- Revive the traditional craft of wood stamp printing. This craft speaks to the history of Syria and the importance of cultural heritage passed through generations.
- Finance the archival of the only known existing stamps, reviving an art form and tradition once lost.
- Help create a cooperative inviting other artists to collaborate, to continue the practice.
- Share information and resources about lost crafts online so that it is available for Syrians everywhere.
- All donations 200 USD and above will receive a handmade gift as a gesture of thanks and
gratitude, to be delivered in the Spring 2021.
How Do You Plan to Payback?
- My payback would be in the form of archiving the blocks to contribute to historical knowledge.
- My payback will also be to create online tutorials to teach Syrians everywhere about our traditional crafts and heritage.
- I will be able to offer help for the less fortunate artists by providing opportunities to collaborate, exchange ideas and build projects together in an effort to keep Syrian traditions alive.
Volunteer Work/Social Capital
I recently began working with a small team to revive the art of Syrian wood stamp printing and to make beautiful textiles through old Syrian printing techniques.
What Have You Done to Improve Yourself? Awards and Achievements
- Back in 2015, I attended several art workshops in Syria, with artists such as Nizar Sabour and Bassem Dahdouh, to extend my knowledge of printing and the use of different mediums in other art forms.
- In 2018, I completed a training on how to teach printing to children and youth.
- My work went on display in local exhibitions in Damascus between 2015 - 2018 and was recently in an exhibition in Canada under the name, “You are not Alone.” The exhibition served as an archive of art production around the world during the pandemic.
- Currently, I am also working on an independent project that connects young artists from my circles with each other to create a corroborative series of work. We hope to develop into a whole collection, an artist book series, or become a continuous project.