Nameless Peoples was a project founded by Riedstra – a contemporary artist on Pop My Mind – in 2015, creating a series of paintings about the tragic state of affairs in Syria and the people involved. She recently invited the rest of the Pop My Mind community to get involved in this personal project by reacting to her portfolio and the wider topic as a whole.
The pieces produced aimed to reflect the plight of the refugees who have fled from Syria and are now wandering the world in search of safety. A lot of the pieces also explored how this is portrayed in the media and our subsequent cultural disconnection from these people, reflected in the original title ‘Nameless People’.
The poignant and thought provoking reactions created by these three artists below, as well as many more on Pop My Mind, attempted to reflect the identities of the people in this situation, as well as call into question our own motivations and actions as a society during these events.
Here are three pieces curated by Riedstra which she thought best represented the theme:
Laure’s incredible mixed media piece made from a photo of a Syrian refugee and working into it. The removal of the mouth and eyes represents that such people are not often given a voice to talk about their own experiences, as well as “an attempt to also acknowledge the unfortunate sense of detachment felt by many of us”.
“What strikes me first when looking at Riedstra’s subtle paintings is the absence or distortion of faces, which denotes not only anonymity but also basic human rights depravation. I aim to convey this idea by working from a picture mailed to me.
We are “bombarded” by such letters to make us aware of the plight of refugees in Syria…for once I stopped, opened one and chose ONE vulnerable face. A real face. A real person. With a name.”
– Laure Van Minden
Frederic Belaubre created many pieces in response to this theme, but this is the one Riedstra selected to share due to the intense and sincere quality of both the drawing and text accompanying it. The scratchy texture and negative space in the center of the image seems to draw the viewer into the body of the figure depicted, and the piece as a whole has a sense of rawness and immediacy. The theme obviously spoke volumes to Frederic and the feeling came through strongly in this stunning acrylic painting.
“Trapeze of nettles, spiky tripalium,
the barbed wire of purgatory where banished are suspended.”
– Frederic Belaubre
Electronic music producer Thaffy created an open and hopeful track Leaving in response to the theme – investigating the same subject in a different medium through music. Riedstra chose this as the third piece to showcase around this project due to being able to follow Thaffy’s experiences and emotions in the track: hopeful, sad, chaotic and soothing.
There are many more thoughtful responses to this theme, which you can find here.
See Reidstra’s original collection of paintings created on this subject below:
To see more thought-provoking artwork based on real events, see how artists reacted to the Manchester Attacks here. If you’re a creative wanting to be part of these creative conversations, you can sign up to Pop My Mind here.
Written by Karis Lambert