I met Saaedah in Germany and was enchanted by her bright, light blue eyes and sweet temperament. She was living in one apartment with a number of women and children who had been separated from husbands and fathers somewhere along their flight to safety. They are included in the  11 million Syrians who have fled their homes, hoping to escape the horrors of war and find some kind of peace. It is a crisis that will not just go away. Millions of normal, everyday people are sitting in temporary housing, refugee camps, or worse, waiting for life to begin again. 

I kept the brushwork in this painting loose and expressive, hoping to convey the turmoil and upheaval so many young people are experiencing at an early stage in their lives. They live in uncertainty, but are remarkably resilient and cheerful in bad conditions. They hold up the best they can, and cling to the most important things - loved ones, faith, and hope. They are Holding On.

Holding On Full Image
​'Holding On', oil on linen by TSOS artist Elizabeth Thayer