Canal greenery by Reimersa Street


“When people are forced to leave their cities, they do not leave their homes, belongings, schools, favorite toys and friends and neighbors behind … they actually leave their skin and organs and memories. They transform into outlines of a radiating light. They walk, whispering one thing: my light is your light …”

A project that pays tribute to the Syrian refugees who have been going through extremely challenging humanitarian conditions. Alaa created my light is your light …. after having worked as a translator for Syrian, Iraqi, and Sudanese refugees for three years. He also translated refugee conversations for Homeland Security.

The work comes with an approach to further understand what it is that these refugees have succumbed to on the ground, but also what it is that they aspire to. During his translating experiences, he has noticed that refugees, who are almost always susceptible to their reality, can easily be ‘detected.’ They have an aura; some kind of a glow that radiates from within them.

My light is your light … is a tribute to every refugee in general who transforms into a radiating outline of a human once he/she is forced out of their home, for his/her story craves to shine on throughout the world. This idea has been presented in the form of a light installation with six human-scale statues. The six figures represent a family made of a father, a mother, a grandfather, an aunt and two children. It is an installation that reflects both harshness and aspects of hope. These six figures will find themselves crossing paths with passers-by.

“I would like people to know that these are not refugees,” Minawi comments about the installation, “as an artist, I see them as people who were forced to leave their homes. That’s much more powerful … We have to go to the real meaning of the word refugee without the fears that are currently stigmatizing it.” Alaa Minawi is himself a Palestinian refugee, his father was a refugee, and so was his grandfather.

This project has been produced by the Amsterdam Light Festival and Room One. My light is your light … has participated in the following light festivals: Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Beirut (Lebanon), Istanbul (Turkey), London (United Kingdom), and Brussels (Belgium). This light installation has been nominated for DARC 2016 prize in “Best Light Art Scheme” category.

Alaa Minawi (born 1982) is a Palestinian-Lebanese visual artist currently living and working in Beirut, Lebanon as a lighting designer and writer. With a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University, Alaa has since 2006 worked in film, photography, and theatre both in the Arab world and the USA with more than 300 different projects. Alaa first started experimenting with light sources in 2010 and has since developed a number of different collaborations in the field of lighting-design with many established artists such as Rober Wilson, Jawad Al Assadi, Andrey Barteniv, Tania Saleh, Lina Abyad and many others.


Project artist and producer: Alaa Minawi

Partner: Untitled

Financed by: Rīga City Council