A Carp artist is selling prints of an original painting of two young Syrian children to raise funds for a refugee sponsorship group in the area.
Anne H. Moore came across a black and white photograph in a newspaper last year showing two young Syrian children begging for food in Beirut. The image captured her and inspired her to set brush to canvas.
“It really struck me,” she said. “Look at them, he’s hungry. How old are those children? My grandson is five – I can’t picture him begging on a street in Beirut. It’s dreadful what happens to these kids.”
An accomplished artist and a member of the West Carleton Arts Society and the Foyer Gallery in Nepean, Moore has a diploma in Refugee Studies from Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland.
She and her husband David, along with a group of concerned residents that included Marion Dewar (former MP Paul Dewar’s mother), sponsored a Cambodian family fleeing the Vietnam War in the 1970s.
“She made a great big push, she was very determined,” said Moore. “They brought over lots of families to Ottawa.”
Moore remembers helping the Lee family register their two children for school, for OHIP, and completing other needed paperwork. She had the family over for lunch, remembering the children’s terror at meeting her pet cats.
With the current mass exodus of Syrian refugee families desperately trying to leave their war-ravaged homeland behind, Moore again wants to help.
“It occurred to me that I might be able to do this by offering prints to people of a painting of Syrian refugee children that I completed last year and give all profits from those prints to a sponsorship group in the Ottawa area,” she explained.
The prints of the original painting, titled ‘Little Refugees’, are available on canvas for $95 or water-colour cold-pressed paper for $50. Moore convinced her husband to learn how to stretch the canvas himself in order to offer the prints more cheaply.
The photograph of the original painting was taken by Carp photographer Mario Cerronni and the prints are reproduced at Almonte Print Shop and Picture Framing.
“It would be a way I could give something towards this,” she said. “If we can make some money towards this I would be very happy. It would be great.”
Moore and her husband have traveled to the Middle East on three occasions and were planning a fourth trip when war broke out. The refugees streaming into Jordan, where the Moores often visited, has put a real strain on the systems in place there, she said.
Mayor Jim Watson held a forum on Syrian refugee resettlement efforts earlier this month. The event coincided with the launch of Refugee613.ca, an organization that will co-ordinate the efforts of local sponsorship agencies and settlement organizations to ensure Ottawa is ready to meet the needs of refugees who come here. The website offers different ways people can help: sponsorship, advocacy, donating funds and volunteering.
The cost to sponsor is refugee is about $27,000 and a new fundraising campaign has been launched by United Way, called Ottawa United for Refugees, where people can donate.
Moore hasn’t found a sponsorship group as of yet but is trying to find one she can work with. Moore is also hoping others will come forward who are interested in sponsoring or helping to sponsor a family in coming to Ottawa.
Moore and her husband, an engineer now retired, immigrated to Canada from England in 1971 as part of the high-tech boom. Moore teaches art part-time at Westboro Academy, after retiring as a full-time art, history and English teacher from Venta Preparatory School.