'Women of Syria' is an online platform with short stories about the daily life of women in Syria. "It focusses on the strength and perseverance of Syrian women. How are these women trying to survive and contribute to peace and safety?" The aim of the project - initiated by Wennie Waeijen, Eline Wijnen, Elisa Asscheman and Sanne de Boer, and in co-operation with the Syrian Women's Network - is to show the lives of these women, not to shock, but to enable us to empathize.
At Illustration Daily we've been on the look out for illustrations dealing with the Syrian refugee-crisis. Although we published one or two, we had to reject most contributions for either being too cartoony, too stereotypical or simply 'not great illustrations'.
We have seen this before: we don't receive many illustrations on 'serious world issues' and when we do they don't always have the quality that we want for Illustration Daily. There have been times when we wondered whether illustration might just not be the right medium 'to say something relevant about something serious', maybe cartoons or photographs are just better at accompanying the more serious current affairs...
So, for us it's wonderfull to see this project about the Syrian crisis, as it doesn't only use illustration, it actually wouldn't work without illustration! 'Women of Syria' has to use illustrations instead of photo's, because it would be too dangerous for the women if they were recognized. Using cartoons would probably also not work here, as it might be too difficult to empathize with a cartoon.
The illustrations for 'Women of Syria' have been made by Ted Struwer, a regular contributor to Illustration Daily.
The 'Women of Syria' website is in Dutch, but we will publish five of the stories in English. More English information about the women can also be found on the website of the Syrian Women's Network.