I recently interviewed the peripatetic Sara Von Kienigger, a renowned artist, designer, photographer, and art director, who traverses the globe for inspiration. During such a visit to Dubai In 2010, she settled in for a few years and single-handedly oversaw the art direction of publications such as "Faces in the Middle East" and "Women of the UAE". She is currently in Los Angeles to fulfill a commission for a large painting for an Asian patron.
Sara was telling me about a new project she is involved with. It is called, Victims of War, a non-political and non-governmental project that focuses on various minority groups found in conflict zones. She pointed out that many people around the world have become desensitized to war due to the daily bombardment of graphic imagery. "We hope our work will stimulate empathy and a renewed compassion for the innocent victims caught in the conflict." The word compassion in Arabic is "ramah", and is derived from the Aramaic word Rachma. Aramaic is the ancient mother tongue of both Arabic and Hebrew.
Victims of War (VOW) is a trans-media photo journalism project that aims to redefine our interpretation and understanding of conflict in the Arab world through the eyes of future generations. Dedicated to the exploration of the short and long term effects of war, Sara wants to have a special focus on the most vulnerable groups: The elderly, women and children.
Sara's worldwide vision comes partly as a result of her early introduction onto the world stage: at age 19, her art was already being displayed in 19 countries. During her time as an Art Director in Dubai, Sara developed the branding and corporate identities of leading companies across the region.
Sara also met her partner in Vow, Hermoine Macura in the UAE. Hermoine was the first Australian female English speaking TV News Anchor in the Middle East, and also one of the area's most recognized faces. Hermoine has interviewed a wide variety of decision makers, from the Duchess of York to Hollywood Actor Michael Douglas and government officials in the UAE, and has connections with individuals in the United Nations.
At our meeting, Sara informed me the VOW exhibitions will be held in the UAE and the US. All profits raised from these will go directly to the UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations working to ease the suffering of millions in crisis zones. The VOW project offers a voice to the millions of refugees and victims dying every day in the Arab world. "Their voices need to be heard and their stories told", Sara told me quietly.
She embodies rachma without a doubt.
For more information: