Ola Khetabi (front left) was one of students who helped carve the art project organized by Curtis Joe Miller (back right). (Grace Kennedy photo)

Canadian and Syrian students connect through North Delta art project

On Thursday, Dec. 21, Burnsview Secondary unveiled its carving of Syria’s golden hawk

Syrian refugees attending Burnsview Secondary will soon be seeing a symbol from their country’s coat of arms on the walls of their school, thanks to a collaborative art project organized by youth counsellor Curtis Joe Miller.

“It was my idea to figure out a way to bridge some of the cultural gaps,” Miller said, “to help them to learn to hang out with other kids. I thought what better way to do it then a carving, to work on a carving together.”

The carving includes both Syrian and Canadian elements: the Hawk of Quarish, a symbol that represents Syria on everything from year-end exams to government emblems; the Syrian flag, pictured in the centre of the hawk’s chest; and traditional First Nations formline art.

“It’s both, so it’s connected together,” Miller said. “Canadian and Syrian.”

The project began in January of 2017, and brought together around 30 different students. Each worked on the carving in small groups over the course of a year, finishing the project in November.

Grade 10 student Ola Khetabi, one of the Syrian students who worked on the project, said the carving was a way “that everyone can know us and get to know us as a Syrian.”

“Because … we’re not really known, they doesn’t really know us in the school,” she said. “They just know that we are refugees and we are going to stay here.”

Burnsview Carving

The students faced struggles during the project, both with the technical execution of the carving as well as with communication.

The lapse in communication can be seen, Miller said, in the Syrian flag on the carving.

The carving’s flag has two stars. The current Syrian flag has three. Less than a decade ago, a third star was added to the flag to represent freedom for the country.

“Later on, as the kids got better at communicating with me, they told me that one day as we were carving,” Miller said. “I was like, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell me?’ And they just started laughing.”

A third star was added to the carving, but between the words Burnsview and Syria, rather than on the flag itself.

The project wasn’t all struggle, however. Some of the Syrian students shared a traditional Arabic dance, the dabke, with the Canadian students, “which is exactly what we wanted,” Miller said.

“We have to learn from them too, it’s not just them learning from us. We have to learn from them too because they have a lot to give.”

During Burnsview’s Christmas assembly on Dec. 21, the finished carving was revealed to the school. Soon, it will be hanging on the wall, for everyone to see as they pass by.

“I will be proud of that,” Khetabi said. “We did something for our country.”



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Counsellor Curtis Joe Miller unveils the Syrian-Canadian carving with students who worked on the project. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Just Posted

PSA ad campaign targets young women involved with gangs

Crime Stoppers campaign encourages girls to reject being lured into the gangster lifestyle

White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

Plans for a one-year pilot program would continue to ban canines on waterfront from May to August

In split vote, Surrey council gives early nod to draft budget

Councillors Locke, Pettigrew, Hundial and Annis vote against capital program

Delta man charged in relation to North Delta thefts

Taranjot Singh Grewal, 40, of Delta, is facing five theft-related charges

Row, row, row your car, down a Surrey road

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s raining outside

Heavy rain, wind cause power outages in White Rock

Chance of showers throughout the evening

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

Plans for a one-year pilot program would continue to ban canines on waterfront from May to August

Most Read