7:00 PM

34 Tsakalof Str., Kolonaki 106 73

The poet and classicist Ruth Padel, with strong links to modern Greece, joins Syrian-born, UK-based artist Issam Kourbaj in a collaboration to honor the courage of the refugees and the generosity of the islanders of Lesvos. Kourbaj’s artwork is both in response to the ongoing Syrian tragedy and inspired by 5th century BC Syrian vessels in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, UK.

Through poetry and art, Dark Water, Burning World explores the visible and invisible scars of loss scorched into escaping Syrians by separation from their homeland.
 Padel and Kourbaj have collaborated on several versions of Dark Water, Burning World. It has been performed and curated at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, the Penn Museum, Brooklyn Museum, at the British Museum, at the Jameel Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum and King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. King’s College, London and at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival. In May 2019 it was performed and displayed at the Venice Biennale. Dark Water, Burning World is in the permanent collection of the British Museum.

Issam Kourbaj was born in Syria and trained at the Institute of Fine Arts in Damascus, the Repin Institute of Fine Arts & Architecture in St Petersburg and at Wimbledon School of Art. Since 1990, he has lived in Cambridge, was Artist in Residence and Bye-Fellow at Christ’s College where he is now Lector in Art.


Ruth Padel is an award-winning British poet with close links to Greece, music and wildlife conservation. She has published over eleven poetry collections, has been shortlisted for all major UK literary prizes, has written a novel featuring wildlife conservation, and eight books of non-fiction. She is Professor of Poetry at King’s College London, was Chair of Judges for the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize, a Judge for 2016 International Man Booker Prize, and is a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Society of Literature.

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Ruth Padel & Issam Kourbaj at NYU in Athens Poster