Birds With Wishes

Good wishes arrived on the wings of fanciful works of art, created by school children in Aleppo, Syria. This exhibition, organised in collaboration with Places of ARcture, was on display 14-20 June 2021, as part of the cathedral’s Refugee Week programme. 

Watch a short piece by RTE about the exhibition.

The ‘Homing Pigeons: Birds with Wishes’ project is built around the idea of connection. In the natural world, many species of birds traverse huge distances in their annual, seasonal migration. Though they summer and winter in different locations, they are equally a part of and at home in each location within the great, interconnected web of the ecosystem. This exhibition represents a migration of good wishes and interpersonal connection that crosses boundaries and transcends the difficult and painful circumstances that so often contribute to barriers that block our connectedness.

Homing Pigeons Invitation

The first installment of the project took place in the form of an art workshop involving 8 boys and 8, girls aged 9-10 years. The workshop took place at an art centre in Aleppo Syria, directed by Muhammad Achour (Places of ARcture), and co-organised and facilitated by Architect  Dania Al-Shelhawi who based in Aleppo.

The workshop guided the children to create pieces around the themes of birds, migration, dreams and wishes. Through a 3-hour session, the 16 children drew their favourite birds and give them a message represent their wishes to travel all the way to Ireland to be viewed by exhibition visitors here. After the workshop the drawings were shipped to Ireland for display. It is hoped later in 2021 to conduct a similar workshop in Ireland, and that the ‘birds with wishes’ created here will then be shipped to Aleppo to share with the children who created the first pieces.

For those who can’t join us in person, we’ve created this virtual exhibition so that you can see the children’s artwork and share in their good wishes.

Printable version of the exhibition booklet.

Exhibition Director: Architect Muhammad Achour

Workshop facilitator: Architect Dania Al-Shelhawi

Photographer: Mahmoud Aldin Babelly

Gathering the Flock


Artist: Ahmad

أتمنى أن يفرح الفقير والغني في شهر رمضان المبارك

الشبل أحمد أبو عطا

I wish that all people, poor and rich, would be happy in the holy month of Ramadan.


Artist: Alma

الزهرة: ألما عقاد

أمنيتي أن يبقى العالم بسلام وعدم الحروب بين البلاد.

I wish peace for the world and no wars between countries.


Artist: Diana

أتمنى أن تنتهي الأزمات والحروب وتصبح حلب وسورية أجمل دولة في كل الكرة الأرضية وأن أرى عائلتي كلها الذين يعيشون في خارج سوريا.

I wish that conflict and wars would end for good, and I wish for Aleppo and Syria to be the best country in the world and to see my relatives who are living outside Syria again.


Artist: Fawzi

أتمنى أن يكون العالم ناجحين في حياتهم , ولا يوقفهم شي

I wish that all people in the world will always be successful in their life, and that nothing would stop them.


Artist: Joudy

أمنيتي أن افتتح معرضا للرسم والأعمال اليدوية

My wish is to do my own visual art and sculpture exhibition.


Artist: Lamar

أتمنى أن يعم السلام في الدنيا.

I wish for peace for the whole world and for all of life.


Artist: Mahmoud

أمنيتي أن تترمم الأماكن الأثرية في حلب.

I wish that the old, heritage buildings in Aleppo would be reconstructed and rehabilitated.


Artist: Miral

أمنيتي أن تنتهي الحرب في بلدي

I wish that the war in my country would end soon.


Artist: Mostafa

أتمنى أنا الناس الفقراء أن يصبحوا سعداء وأن يستطيعوا شراء وتناول الطعام في شهر رمضان المبارك.

I wish that poor people would be happy and would be able to buy and eat food in the Holy month of Ramadan.


Artist: Omar

أمنيتي أن أرى أخي الميت. الرسام عمر سلقيني.

I wish to see my brother who died.


Artist: Rayyan

أن تكون الحياة جميلة وأن تتحقق كل أمنيات المجتمع.

I wish that life would be beautiful, and that all the wishes of all communities would be achieved.


Artist: Ryad

أنا رياض شيخ دبس أتمنى أن أكون لاعب كرة قدم.

I am Ryad, I wish to be a soccer player.


Artist: Safa

أتمنى أن يعود المغتربون إلى الوطن وأيضا أتمنى أن تتعمر المناطق المدمرة.

I wish that everyone who had to leave would come back home, and I wish that all the destroyed areas would be rebuilt.


Artist: Simaf

أنا سيماف جميل أمنيتي أن يعيش كل الناس بخير وسعادة وأتمنى أن يحقق كل طفل أحلامه

I am Simaf. My wish is for all people to live in wellness and happiness and for each child to achieve all his or her dreams.


Artist: Taher

بتمنى يكون عندي غيتار جديد.

I wish to have a new Guitar.


Artist: Yazan

أتمنى أن أزور بلدكم إيرلندا

I wish to visit your country, Ireland.