United Kingdom: Syrian artist denied UK visa will miss his own exhibition

One of Syria’s most prominent artists has been denied a visa to travel to the UK for the opening of his own exhibition in London.

Thaier Helal, widely known in Syria for his neo-expressionist works, was denied entry to Britain by the Home Office. He was due to appear at an exhibition of his works at the Ayyam Gallery in New Bond Street on 22 January 2015.

Other Middle Eastern artists have had trouble entering the UK and other Western countries. In 2013, the writers Ali Abukhattab and Samah al-Sheikh, from Gaza, were due to appear at London’s ICA to discuss their works, but were unable to attend.

Founder of the Ayyam Gallery Khaled Samawi said he was “incredulous” at the Home Office’s decision. “We are facing enormous problems sending our Syrian artists for exhibitions and arts related events abroad at the moment, it is such a great shame as this is a highly tumultuous time for our country and I believe that it is so important for their message to be heard by international audiences.” He added that if Middle Eastern artists continued to be denied entry to the West then it would have significant social and cultural impacts.

“It’s truly an uphill struggle and if this keeps happening, our talented artists will continue to lose out on the opportunities afforded to citizens of other countries, limiting their careers and crushing their motivation – it’s just not right.”

» Sourced through Scoop.it from: rt.com

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