Istanbul (Turkey). Days ago, I visited the SALT Galata Gallery in Karakoy, Istanbul. There was the exhibition “Apricots from Damascus”, an interesting project focused on a group of refugees who rely on their creative and intellectual abilities in the fields of art, writing, and music, to survive in Istanbul. It must be considered that since 2011 Turkey (of course including Istanbul) has become the destination of migrants who left Syria due to the Civil War.
The Turkish translation of “Apricots from Damascus” is “Şam’da Kayısı”, which is also part of an idiomatic expression meaning “It does not get any better than this” (the complete sentence is “Bundan iyisi, Şam’da kayısı”). Furthermore, in countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Peru, the word for “apricot” is “damasco”, which could indicate that, to the Spanish settlers of Argentina, the fruit was associated with Damascus in Syria.
I could stay hours writing here my thoughts about the terrible situation in Syria and the immigrants’ conditions. And most probably, I even would not say anything of interesting, being all of us used to the stream of images coming from this cruel war. I just want to remark this exhibition, and how arts can be part – if not of the pacification process – at least of the refugees’ survival.