Yazidi women release their pain by painting
At Mission East's Civic Center in the Iraqi city of Sinjar, a group of girls and women sit and paint the assaults they cannot express in words. Pain over death, grief over missing friends and their own trauma after violence and sexual abuse.
Sabrina paints a girl crying up against a wall. The painting depicts herself. Because that's how she feels. The young Yazidi girl cries inside over the fact that her friend from school has disappeared without a trace. The classmate disappeared when the terrorist movement Islamic State captured Sinjar in Iraq, killed the men, raped the women and abducted young girls as sex slaves. Among the others, also her friend.
Sabrina has not seen her since. That's why she's crying. Therefore, she stands up against a wall, which stands relentlessly as an insurmountable obstacle. But at Mission East's Civic Center in Sinjar, she learns to process her grief by painting exactly what she feels. Words cannot describe the pain, but a painting can. Therefore, it eases to paint the pain out onto the canvas.
In the picture above, we see Sabrina tell her story to Mission East Managing Director Betina Gollander-Jensen during a recent visit to Iraq.
Cannot get rid of the smell
Another painting shows people in an underground sea of flames. Bombs fall, the ground burns and the corpses are charred. Meanwhile, the stench of burnt flesh in the form of columns of smoke rises from the depths of the earth.
It's the smell of burnt meat that Fatima cannot get out of her nostrils. Therefore, she has a hard time letting go of the memories. Even though it is now seven years since Islamic State attacked their city and spread death and destruction.
But when she is given the opportunity to place the horrific memories on the canvas in Mission East's Civic Center, the images - and the stench of corpses - may fade.
Girl committed suicide in protest
A painting of an angel with blood from her hands tells the story of a girl captured by Islamic State. Shortly afterwards, the girl committed suicideas she refused to become subject to the terrible abuses of the warriors
Today, she is considered a saint by the Yazidi community. The girl reminds them of purity, innocence and resistance to terror and she inspires them to seek justice.