This video is part of a multimedia story, Hard Choices, that looks into the fate of Iraqi Christians going back to their homes in Northern Iraq, following the liberation of their hometowns from ISIS in 2016.
This video is part of a multimedia story, Hospitality and Hardships, that tells stories of Syrian and Iraqi refugees struggling to lead a decent life in the city of Zahle in Lebanon.
This video is part of a multimedia story, Health on Wheels, that reports on a mobile clinic that tours villages in Kurdish villages to offer medical services to refugees from Iraqi towns under occupation by ISIS.
This video is part of a multimedia story, In Limbo in Lebanon, that tells stories of Iraqi refugees struggling to stay afloat in Lebanon.
This video is part of a multimedia story, Lebanon on the Brink, that looks into the rampant poverty in Lebanon in 2015 as the influx of Syrian refugees increases and the Lebanese government fails to take action.
A precarious calm marks Ramadan in Bab-el-Tabene, a poor Lebanese neighborhood just 20 miles from the Syrian border. But the scars of war are everywhere. Battles between Sunnis and nearby Alawites have become a grim routine over the last four years.
All three are from Homs. All three are in limbo. Their journeys were marked by perilous delays and near-escapes. Undeterred by their injuries, they are waiting to recover in order to go back and start fighting again.
Looking for a Face
A Greek artist with low-vision makes drawings of landscapes and still lifes. In New York, Fotis Flevotomos finds inspiration to draw his first portrait in years. An iPad drawing application helps him deal with a blurry eyesight and a difficulty in perceiving depth.
I cannot understand how far things are and how fast things move.
I was born with a genetic condition called ocular albinism. This affected my vision, my perception of the third dimension.
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I always wanted to draw people but it’s not so easy I am quiet slow when I draw because I have to understand first what it is that I want to draw.
So it was easier to choose still lives or landscapes as a subject.
That’s one of my goals to find interesting faces and be able to draw portraits.
In NYC, you just have to take the subway and go somewhere and you’ll see a great variety of subjects, interesting expressions, interesting faces.
When I want to draw something that I think is interesting, I just spend time looking at the subject until I feel confident that I know everything about the shape and the color and the way it stands in the space.
When you feel strong feelings, then the need for expression is really really big so you have to find a way to express these feelings. That is how you become creative.
The ipad has two things that I find very helpful… I am able to enlarge my painting, I can adjust the brightness of the screen. For someone with low vision, these two characteristics are so so crucial for a confident drawing and a confident expression…
Low vision made me pay attention more to the importance of the moment…
I discovered that time apart from space is also an important element for a painter…
Just like a musician, you have to respect the flow of time…
As a child in Greece, he could not read letters on a class blackboard. Fotis Flevotomos, 35, was born with ocular albinism, a genetic condition in which the eyes lack melanin pigments causing blurry vision, a difficulty in perceiving depth and sensitivity to bright light.
Despite his condition, Flevotomos grew up to become a piano player and an artist. He made watercolor and ink drawings of still lives and landscapes but not many portraits. Although he was interested in human figures, he found it difficult to draw people. “I am quiet slow when I draw… and then I have to be really close so it’s a relationship that has certain requirements and for me it’s been difficult to find models with whom I feel comfortable,” he said.
Last year, Flevotomos was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to be a visiting artist at the New York Public Library. Since September, he has been engaged in discussions and workshops on the accessibility of art for people with low or no vision. He writes blog posts about the importance of subjective vision in making art and the relationship between music and paintings. Recently, he wrote about the affinities between Monet’s weeping willows series and Mozart’s Requiem.
In New York, Flevotomos started using an iPad application as a drawing tool, which helped him overcome some of his vision problems. Inspired by the diversity of people in the city, he decided to draw his first portrait in many years.
Arab American Women Seek to Empower Community
Since June, they have been addressing hundreds of people at fairs, rallies and on the streets in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, or any other neighborhood where large numbers of Arab Americans can be found. The mission of these 20-something young women is to register members of the community to vote in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
Eleven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, young Arab American activists feel that they need to take a more active role in U.S. political life in order to change policies they regard as discriminatory against them. They believe that voting would make politicians listen to the needs of the community and stop civil rights abuses and racial profiling.
(This photo slideshow was published in October 2012 by Voices of New York)
Arab Americans Speak Out against Discrimination