“The Last Gardener of Aleppo” – An exhibition of work by artist Linda Combi

Inspired by a Channel 4 news story titled “The Last Gardener of Aleppo”, York based artist Linda Combi is staging a new exhibition of artwork and will donate a share of the proceeds to the Lemon Tree Trust.

Linda was deeply moved by the TV news story that featured Abu Ward, the owner of a garden centre in the besieged city. This last remaining garden centre was an oasis of calm and beauty for the citizens of Aleppo, who were experiencing death and destruction all around them. Throughout the film Abu Ward described his love for flowers and plants.

Not long after the film was made, Abu Ward was killed by a bomb, which fell nearby. His garden centre had to close and his 12 year old son Ibrahim, who had assisted him in the garden centre, was left fatherless.

Commemorating the story of Abu Ward, Linda’s new exhibition of artwork is on display from Wednesday 26th February in York. She will donate 80% of the proceeds to the Lemon Tree Trust and UNHCR.

Linda Combi comments: “Because of the continuing horrors being endured by the Syrian people, it feels important to celebrate life and beauty at this time, so I wanted to commemorate Abu Ward’s life and work through art.”

Many of the pieces in the exhibition are illustrations inspired by the words of Abu Ward and based on Syrian carpet designs that Linda found in her research. All the work is mixed media, incorporating painted papers, drawing and stencil.

As well as work directly relating to the story of Abu Ward, there are pieces on the theme of “The Oasis” – which celebrate beautiful gardens set in harsh environments. These reflect the work of the Lemon Tree Trust, as it helps displaced people who are forced to leave their homes create gardens in new surroundings.

Linda’s exhibition takes from 25th February – 6th April 2020 at The Angel on the Green, Bishopthorpe Road, York, YO23 1JJ.

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