Friends includes works by fifteen unique artists that explore the relationships between personal experiences, culture, and history. 

A recurring question surfaced in both public and private conversations over the past two years of the Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project: “Why, when we [Syrians and Iraqis] know so much about American culture, do Americans know so little about ours?” Forming connections as friends takes time. It requires trust and reciprocity. To expose pieces of individual and collective selves—sharing culture, beliefs, feelings, and personal stories—both parties must be fully present with one another.  Home is a reflection of self, and to be invited to share a meal or drink tea is to welcome another into one’s own personal museum of history, beliefs, and current status in the modern world. When shared with friends, a home can become a place of refuge and a space to honor difference.

Throughout Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary, participants opened their homes, hearts, and minds and shared their histories, cultures, and personal stories. Together, over tea, coffee, and home-cooked food, participants shared the excitement of commonalities while also cultivating a love for nuance and appreciating difference. If common interests, values, and histories are the elements that draw people together as friends, then we want to know: Is it possible for art to help us address this gap? Can we use art to transform conflict into connection? Can we turn a gallery into a home?

In partnership with 12Gates Arts, Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary invites you into their home away from home – the gallery. Join us in experiencing everything from sculptures and dictionaries to archaeology books and paintings that celebrate and enumerate cultural and historical moments, conversations, personal stories, and most of all, friendships.

These artworks reflect the process of artmaking that rectifies misinformation about Syrian and Iraqi cultures and the global resettlement process by expanding the space in our hearts for more empathy, belonging, and friendship. Artists on display include FPS collaborators and book artists: Layla Al-Huseini, Fadaa Ali, Islam Ali, Samah Al-Kasab, Asmaa Diab, Amaal Alnajar, Abdul Karim Awad, Maureen Cummins, Osama Herkal, Mohamed, Marwa, Fadia, Erik Ruin, Fouad Sakhnini, and Ali Salman.

Past dates

Download schedule


  • Starting Friday, June 7th, 2019, repeated every day until Thursday, August 15, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm


12Gates Arts

106 N 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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