Well-established in her field of work, Sara Khayat has been involved in numerous campaigns concerning human rights, gender and LGBTQI+ equality, asylum seekers, and cyberbullying since 2011. Her work has featured in advocacy missions through organisations such as Right to Remain UK, and Liberated T, sponsored by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, amongst others.
As a freelance designer, Khayat has worked with several civil society organisations, including the Syrian Child Protection Network, The A Project, and Dammeh, focused on the rights of children, women, and LGBTQI+ people. Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Khayat has also worked on documenting human rights violations by all parties involved in the conflict and the oral histories of women detained by the Syrian regime.
More recently, Sara has been involved in designing visual materials for books and research for organisations which document gender-based violence in Syria. Her work has featured in various exhibitions and publications, including during the first Global Refugee Forum in Geneva (2019), in ’Dream Sequences’ exhibition in Amsterdam (2019), and in the October 2020 issue of Eko magazine.
During her two-year ICORN residency, Sara Khayat is planning to collaborate with local artists, as well as continue her ongoing work, including an art project concerning the connection between the human body and its surroundings. Khayat says:
‘I hope to be able to do something new both as an artist and on a personal level here in Gävle.'
Born in Damascus and educated at the International University for Science and Technology in the city of Ghabagheb, Sara Khayat was forced to flee Syria for Turkey in 2015 due to her professional activities and their focus on taboo issues. Sara arrived in Sweden at the beginning of 2023 and became Gävle’s third ICORN resident.
Upon welcoming Sara Khayat in Gävle, Chair of the Culture and Leisure Committee Helene Börjesson (The Green Party) said:
‘I hope that a lot of people will meet Sara and her art, and that there will be very good discussions about freedom of expression and human rights’.
Gävle has been an ICORN City of Refuge since 2015. The city’s two former residents are Kurdish Iranian sculptor Seywan Saeedian (2018-2020), and Syrian photographer and film director Issa Touma (2016-2018).
You can see more of Sara Khayat’s art on Instagram, Behance, and her portfolio. You read more about her and her work on Syria Untold, The Syrian Women’s Political Movement, and Jeem.
To read her ICORN resident profile, please click here.