Now that Syria’s artistic community has scattered all around the world—to Lebanon, Germany, France, Canada, and other countries—documentation, criticism, and the creation of scholarship are all the more important. Art journalism and criticism were always weak points in Syria, Atassi noted, with only one art publication in the country, put out by the Ministry of Culture. “Knowledge creation is a priority,” Atassi said, so next year, the foundation will focus on research, publications, and creating archives. But, she added, the artists she works with haven’t stopped making art.
“Almost all say that it is their art that helps them make sense of the madness,” she said. For Atassi, the “page has turned over,” and she doesn’t see herself returning to Syria, despite her deep connection to the country and its art.
“I am 68 years old and a lot of my friends have either died or now live in diaspora. It pays back knowing that we have such rich heritage, as Syrians,” she said. “Life must go on.”