Targeted Expression: The Persecution of Artists in Syria
Artists and activists Jay Abdo and Fadia Afashe will discuss the impact of the conflict in Syria on the arts. Abdo and Afashe will recount their personal journey to the United States and will discuss how artists have been targeted by the Assad regime and the limited legal protections available for this vulnerable population.
Jay Abdo is a Syrian American actor and grassroots activist. His refusal to publicly support the repressive regime in Syria led to escalating threats and he was ultimately forced to leave. After rebuilding his career from scratch in LA, Abdo met Werner Herzog, who cast him in a major role opposite Nicole Kidman in “Queen of the Desert”. Since then, Jay has appeared in “A Hologram for the King” with Tom Hanks and “Bon Voyage”, which was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2017.
Fadia Afashe is a visual artist and women’s rights activist. During the Arab Spring, Afashe left Damascus for the United States to pursue a fellowship at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School for Public Affairs. She wrote and produced “Suspended” (2011), a short film exposing how rape laws in the Arab world leave women unprotected and disenfranchised. Agashe is now based in LA where her paintings depicting the struggles of activists against the Syrian regime are frequently exhibited.
James H. Binger Center for New Americans, Human Rights Center, Human Rights Program