All photo credits: Sarah Dawson McClean
This September, Flying Carpet Festival commenced its 5th year for a two-week mobile arts festival that brought music and circus performances to children across Turkey’s southern border towns. Founded by Sahba Aminikia a musician and composer from Iran/United States, FCF is a volunteer-based collective of world-class musicians, circus artists, visual artists, designers, and visionaries who believe in the power of music and arts as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of vulnerable and refugee children in war-afflicted regions of the world.
ARTogether has been a financial supporter of FCF from its inception and this year saw the participation of two of our staff members, Sarah Dawson McClean/Photographer and Sabina Kariat/Puppet Workshop and Animator, as well as Samia Karimi/Afghani Dancer, a former ARTogether board member as a part of the artists in residence.
A new element to this year’s locations, FCF was able to bring performances to some cities in Turkey that had been impacted by the devastating earthquakes earlier this year. In locations where thousands of people are currently living in temporary housing as 70% of their city buildings were destroyed.
“ It was an honor to be accepted to participate in this festival. To be one of so many talented artists from all over the world, coming together to create a magical moment of dance, music, and art for communities that have been through so much. And it was magic! Watching the children’s faces as they walked beside the 12-foot puppets in the circus parade, in awe of the jugglers, drums, and dancers. It was emotional witnessing the impact: Joy overflowing everywhere; a blissful reprieve for the entire community.” – Sarah Dawson McClean
“ The container cities (temporary housing set up for families who lost their homes in the earthquake) were very gray and uniform, and the festival temporarily filled the spaces with expression and color. The kids gave so much energy, passion, and creativity to the workshops, and were so engaged in the performances. There were so many wildly different art forms that I was shocked to see it become such a seamlessly cohesive story within the performances. Collaborating with international artists was such a learning experience, and I felt a sense of wonder along with the kids as the festival came together. I really believe the festival gave a moment of magic to people who deserved and needed it at this time.” – Sabina Kariat
Sarah and Sabina’s experiences highlight the festival’s ability to transcend barriers and create moments of pure joy and wonder. Their narratives emphasize the universality of art and its power to bridge cultural, geographical, and situational divides.
At ARTogether, we firmly believe that the arts have a transformative power. They provide an escape, a beacon of hope, and a platform for expression, especially in the face of adversity. The Flying Carpet Festival embodies this sentiment by bringing a splash of color, rhythm, and joy to areas that have experienced hardships and devastation. Our partnership with FCF serves as a testament to our commitment to making art accessible, impactful, and a tool for healing.
ARTogether is proud to have been part of such an initiative, and we are continuously inspired by the passion and dedication of all the artists and volunteers involved. We remain committed to fostering such partnerships, as they align perfectly with our mission and vision. As we look towards the future, we remain open and eager to forge new collaborations that can further amplify the healing and connective powers of the arts. Whether you’re an artist, an organization, or an individual with a shared vision, we invite you to join us on this journey. Together, we can paint the world with hope, one art piece at a time.