Birds With Wishes
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. Originally conceptualised by Syrian architect Muhammad Achour, founder of Places of ARcture, Christ Church Cathedral has been delighted to collaborate over the past two years to help to share the project with a wider audience.
Birds With Wishes Creativity Camp 2022
Building on last year’s collaboration, and through generous donations from Ecclesiastical Insurance and individual donors, we were able to extend the project in two ways in 2022. A celebration event was held in Aleppo to share with the children the postcards written by visitors to the 2021 exhibition and a short film commissioned to document and follow-up with the children. Secondly, a Birds with Wishes ‘creativity camp’ was organised and took place in the cathedral in July. This was a multi-faith and multi-cultural week, involving children from three of the emergency accommodation centres and from the local area, providing transport and meals, and involving some of the adults from those accommodation centres as volunteers, which was also greatly rewarding.
Birds With Wishes Workshop 2021
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, co-organised and facilitated by Architect Dania Al-Shelhawi who based in Aleppo, working with a group of local Scouts.
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.
This children’s artwork was then shipped to Dublin, and the exhibition planned for Refugee Week in June 2021. The exhibition represented 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.
Watch a short piece by RTE about the exhibition.
We created a virtual exhibition, viewable below, to preserve the children’s artwork and their good wishes for years to come.
Printable version of the exhibition booklet.
Exhibition Director: Architect Muhammad Achour
Workshop facilitator: Architect Dania Al-Shelhawi
Photographer: Mahmoud Aldin Babelly
Gathering the Flock
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.
أتمنى أن يعم السلام في الدنيا.
I wish for peace for the whole world and for all of life.
أمنيتي أن تترمم الأماكن الأثرية في حلب.
I wish that the old, heritage buildings in Aleppo would be reconstructed and rehabilitated.
أمنيتي أن تنتهي الحرب في بلدي
I wish that the war in my country would end soon.
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.
أمنيتي أن أرى أخي الميت. الرسام عمر سلقيني.
I wish to see my brother who died.
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.
أنا رياض شيخ دبس أتمنى أن أكون لاعب كرة قدم.
I am Ryad, I wish to be a soccer player.
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.
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.
بتمنى يكون عندي غيتار جديد.
I wish to have a new Guitar.
أتمنى أن أزور بلدكم إيرلندا
I wish to visit your country, Ireland.