'I paint hope': Young Syrian painter dreams of a European escape

16-year-old Roaa Tanari.
16-year-old Roaa Tanari. Copyright Euronews
By Yousef Gharibi, Hebaa Shehade, Josephine Joly
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16-year-old Roaa Tanari has spent most of her life living among the ruins of Syria's war.


In the town of Sarmin near Idlib, the young art-loving student Roaa Tanari uses painting as an escape to the hard reality she lives in.

Painting about nature, hope, and optimism, the 16-year-old hangs her works of art on the walls of her family's home.

The young Syrian painter has spent most of her life living against the backdrop of her country's extraordinary war.

"Drawing means another life to me. When I draw, I forget everything around me; I prefer to be in my world, where I can draw what I dream of and where I wish to be," Tanari told Euronews.

"War and destruction have affected me and my surroundings. So I use painting to escape the reality I live in. I paint nature. I paint hope. I paint optimism," she went on.

16-year-old Roaa Tanari.Euronews

In northwest Syria, where opposition forces have ruled since 2015, education has many flaws, one of them being the lack of art schools and equipment.

Roaa had to learn everything by herself and never received any help to develop her drawings.

"Finding art equipment is very hard in the area. I sawed the wood, I make the fabric. The brushes I use are the simplest to paint with. I've faced many hardships — all the equipment, of course, I made myself," she said.

The high-school student is considering learning to paint professionally, but not in Syria.

Roaa Tanari painting outside.Euronews

She says she cannot see a future for herself as an artist in a bleak and dangerous country. She dreams of travelling to Europe, where she could study the art of painting.

"I dream of going to Europe where I could study, paint and draw at an art-supporting institute, somewhere where I could develop my talent," she said.

Roaa Tanari's painting.Euronews

Watch the full report in the video player above.

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