Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary: Collaborative Works on Paper


September 27–October 26, 2019

Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–5 pm; Saturday by appointment

Opening Reception: September 28, 6pm–9pm


Booklyn is proud to present a selection of collaborative works on paper and textile produced by staff and participants of Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project (http://fps.swarthmore.edu/).

First conceived of in 2016 by Peggy Seiden, (College Librarian for Swarthmore College) and Katie Price, (Associate Director, Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility) the FPS project was designed to bring American and Egyptian artists and culture workers together to collaborate with members of the Syrian and Iraqi refugee communities of Philadelphia.

Using the Swarthmore College Peace (https://www.swarthmore.edu/library/peace/) archive as a primary resource for intersectional research the FPS program included: intensive workshops for participants focused on producing artists’ books and publications; cultural sensitivity training for all artists and staff, and outreach goals that resulted in numerous collaborations with Philadelphia cultural and refugee service organizations. FPS produced dozens of events, exhibitions, workshops, an outstanding and comprehensive project catalog and hundreds of artworks and publications.

The passionate organizing by Yaroub Al Obaidi, (FPS Community Liaison), Nora Elmarzouky, (FPS Program Manager) and Suzanne L. Seesman, (FPS Artistic Director) in collaboration with all the participants catalyzed an ongoing creative community amongst the participants and an exemplary social practice model of critical engagement. The urgent relevance and generosity of FPS programming are evident in its courageous examination of Iraqi and Syrian refugee experiences and the myriad human rights and cultural appreciation issues revealed by the sharing of these diverse experiences.

With work by: Abir Alarnab, Layla Alhuseini, Fadaa Ali. Islam Aly, Rula Aljabi, Samah Alkasab, Amaal Alnajar, Yaroub Al-Obaidi, Nora Elmarzouky, Fadia, Osama Herkal, Abdul Karim Awad, Eric Battle, Courtney Bowles, Maureen Cummins, Asmaa Daib, Josh Graupera, Marwa, Mohamed, Hassan Muhtadi, Rusell P., Ramadan, Raghad, Erik Ruin, Ali Salman, Samah, Fouad Sakhnini, Suzanne Seesman, Shouq, and Mark Strandquist.

For more information contact Marshall Weber at mweber@booklyn.org.

The Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project is supported by Booklyn, Inc., with additional support from Swarthmore’s Cooper Series, Swarthmore College Libraries, the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Original support for Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia. This exhibition is also made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the New York State Legislature and additionally, in part, by funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.