April 13 2017 /// Francesca Fini - Children of sunny Syria (first chapter)

This is the story of a discovery. An illustrated children's book, written in 1936 by an American missionary in Syria, is spotted by the artist 80 years later in a book stand in New York, right in the time of the great Syrian exodus to Europe, and of the long columns of refugees on the march that we observe with distress on TV. A discovery that seems a sign, and that becomes the starting point of an artistic action that consists in the translation process. A translation and transition process that is not only happening through languages ​​- English and Italian - but also through the time machine of geopolitical upheavals and of communication ​​- the analogue of the press and the digital of the video stream, the visual and sound digitization that will preserve this item of paper destined to disappear giving to it a new meaning. Today, as this crisis seems to escalate day by day, it is the beginning of a performance in episodes that will tell the small and big adventures of two Syrian brothers, Habeeb and Zareefie, their goats, their village surrounded by mulberry trees and their loving parents. A story that emerges from 1936, from the romantic fantasy of a Western missionary, and that through the past - and the "timeless" literary flesh - whispers in the ears of the present.

The book
Children of sunny Syria
by Myrta H. Dodds
illustrated by Margaret Ayer
New York, 1936