painting by Fatima Al Dayat
Polus Center Celebrates 20 years of International Victim Assistance Work
Dark to Light: Conflict, Healing & Hope
A.P.E. Gallery, 126 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts. May 15 – 19, 2018
The Polus Center Celebrated it's 20 year anniversary supporting victims of conflict around the world, with an exhibition and benefit events this past May, at the A.P.E. Gallery in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts.
The Dark to Light exhibition centered on Polus Centers rehabilitation work with Coffee farmers who have experienced landmine related limb loss and war wounded Syrian refugee children who have fled to Jordan in hopes of rehabilitation and recovery.
A Syrian Child's Journey
Painting by Ola Lakoud
Since 2013 Polus Center has been providing prosthetics and physical rehabilitation services and support to war wounded Syrian children in Amman, Jordan. In December of 2015 the "Wings of Peace" program was created in an effort to address the severe psychological trauma experienced, allowing for the best possible chance of recovery. This therapeutic intervention includes both expressive and cognitive therapies allowing gentle and safe work when children are in the early stages of the healing process. more about this exhibit
From Conflict to Coffee
photo by Stephen Petegorsky
In this collection of photographs by Stephen Petegorsky and paintings by Greg Stone, we glimpse lives of coffee farmers impacted by landmines in Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - conflict and post conflict growing regions around the world. In addition, a series of short video clips, from Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, allows farmers themselves to share their hopes, dreams, and the enormous challenges they face. more about this exhibit
The Benefit events for these programs celebrated hope, resiliency and strength of human spirit. They included afternoon Coffee talks, A Syrian inspired dinner and a Latin style cocktail mixer all generously hosted by the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, MA. The events were well attended and featured delicious themed foods by area restaurants including Spoleto, Mosaic Cafe, Pita pocket, and Paul & Elizabeths with outstanding performances of Middle Easten music by Oud player Aliya Cycon and Spanish guitarist Tony Silva. Throughout the week guest speakers Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans, photographer Stephen Petegorsky, and Educational Psychologist Dr. Niveen Abu Zaid, shared with guests their experiences working in Jordan, South America, and The Democratic Republic of Congo with those caught up in conflict and war. On Thursday and Friday evening a film by Troy Word about the expressive art therapy work Polus Center is doing with injured Syrian children, was included in the program, and featured interviews with several of the young artists who shared their hopes and dreams for the future.