March 13, 2021

To be an artist is to believe in life

Olive Tree Centres

Art knows no nationality and doesn't hold prejudices

— Mahmoud
(the title quote above is from Henry Moore )
These are the words of Mahmoud, a Jordanian Muslim artist who teaches art classes to Iraqi Christian refugees at The Olive Tree Centre in Madaba, Jordan. The Centre was set up in 2019 to support Iraqi Christian refugees who fled the terror of ISIS in Iraq. As a local artist Mahmoud was asked to paint a mural of an Olive Tree in the lobby and readily agreed.
In 2019 Mahmoud painted the mural in the Olive Tree Centre in Madaba, Jordan
The son of Palestinian refugees, Mahmoud feels passionate about helping the refugees who fled from ISIS and now struggle to survive in Jordan. “I feel it is my duty to help the refugees and welcome them in Jordan,” says Mahmoud. “When I found out about The Olive Tree Centre, I wanted to be involved and to help. As a Jordanian Muslim it meant a lot to me to be welcomed into the centre and to be able to help the refugees take part in the joy that art brings. This has made me so grateful and so happy.”
We chose the Olive Tree as the name for our refugee centres in Jordan because it is a powerful metaphor for refugees, speaking of deep roots, resilience and fruitfulness even in harsh circumstances. Another aspect is the symbolism of the Olive Branch, forever associated with peace and reconciliation. In small but significant ways the Centre is being used to bridge divisions. In December the Iraqi Christian refugees reached out to Syrian Muslim refugees with small gifts including special Christmas biscuits.

Art is the honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail

— Theodore Dreiser
Mahmoud working on his stunning rendition of the 'Tree of Hope' designed by Riveen, and Iraqi Christian refugee

As an artist I love to share my love of art

A talented artist, Mahmoud produced a beautiful rendition of Riveen’s Tree of Hope. Riveen and other refugees will now turn this image into a beautiful and unique mosaic which will adorn the walls of the second Olive Tree Centre.
Mahmoud said, “The new Olive Tree Centre will impact so many refugees and struggling community members. I am very happy to be part of such a special project.”“I never thought that as a retired artist I would have the chance to learn and grow even more,” said Mahmoud, “and this experience has allowed me to cherish what art truly means and all it is capable of - healing, uniting, and transforming lives.”
“As an artist, I love to share my love of art with others.”
Riveen's original artwork for the Tree of Hope

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say 'He feels deeply; he feels tenderly

— Vincent Van Gogh
The final Tree of Hope mosaic design; a collaboration between Iraqi Christian refugees and Mahmoud
Please help us reach our goal: raising £44,000 for a new Olive Tree Centre
We have a dream to open 4 new Olive Tree Centres over the next 3 years so we can reach thousands more Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan.
We are inching ever closer to achieving our target of £44,000 needed to open a new Olive Tree Centre in Amman. Riveen’s creativity and Mahmoud’s talent has brought the appeal to life, helping raise an incredible £35,000 so far.
Thank you to all who have already given so generously. Your support will bring hope, help and healing to Iraqi Christian refugees who have suffered so much.
If you haven’t had a chance to support the appeal by sponsoring an olive, gold or green leaf, your kind contribution could help us reach our target.
When you make a donation to sponsor a leaf or olive you will help make this dream a reality, bringing hope to thousands of refugees in Jordan. All of the roots and doves have now been sponsored, but we still need lots more sponsors for the green leaves at £100 each, the gold leaves at £250 each. And some olives are still available at £500 each.
The Tree of Hope will be made up of mosaic elements, all hand-crafted by Riveen and other refugees, and assembled to form this unique and colourful piece of wall art. Over 3 metres tall it will be installed on the wall of the main room in the new Olive Tree Centre.
Every person who supports the Tree of Hope Appeal with a donation for a leaf, olive or dove, will have their names or the names of their loved ones recorded alongside the tree in the new centre. To say thank you, we will send you a commemorative certificate and a print of the Tree of Hope mosaic once it’s completed.
Support the Appeal Now
Your support will bring hope, help and healing to Iraqi Christian refugees who have suffered so much.
Support Now
Posted by Mosaic Team