Amani Lazar er syrisk flygtning og bor idag med støtte fra organisationen ICORN i Helsingør.

Helsingørs første fribykunstner er inviteret af Helsingør Kommune i et samarbejde med Den Internationale Højskole og ICORN – The International Cities of Refuge Network, som er den uafhængige organisation af byer og regioner verden over, der forsøger at støtte ytringsfriheden ved at huse forfulgte forfattere og andre kunstnere i en periode på to år.

ICORN står for fribyordningen, som Folketinget vedtog i 2009. ICORN godkender kandidater til ordningen og lokale styregrupper vælger derfra den kandidat, man ønsker at invitere. Der har indtil nu været fribykunstnere på Frederiksberg, på Fanø, i Aarhus, Odense, København. P.t. er Aarhus, København – og nu også Helsingør – fribyer i Danmark. På den anden side af Øresund er blandt andet Malmö og Helsingborg med i fribyordningen.

Den 42-årige Amani Lazar kommer fra byen Homs, som er den tredje største by i Syrien. Amani Lazar er uddannet jurist fra Universitet i Damascus og har senere arbejdet i et selskab under det irakiske olieministerium.

I 2008 begyndte Amani Lazar at interessere sig for at oversætte tekster, hun startede en blog, hvor hun delte sine oversættelser af amerikansk/engelsk skønlitteratur. Da Amani blev opslugt af arbejdet, under den syriske borgerkrig, havde det dog sine vanskeligheder, da Amani var nødt til at have to computere tændt hele tiden, da hun ikke kunne vide, hvornår strømmen ville gå og hele hendes arbejde ville gå tabt.

Eksempler på litteratur Amani Lazar har oversat:
John Fante “Ask the dust”
Charles Bulowski: “South of No North”
Knut Hamsun: “Mysteries”
Kim Echlin: “The Disappeared”

I Dansk Kunstnerråd støtter vi ICONs arbejde og har tidligere været i forbindelse med ICON. Vi har i Dansk Kunstnerråd fundet Amanis arbejde og historie væsentlig og har lavet et interview med hende på engelsk, som du kan læse uddrag fra her:

  1. Do you see translation as a sort of art?

Translation is considered an independent art in itself, as it depends on the creativity of language and the ability to bridge cultures. It passes on the ability to communicate and benefit from each other’s experiences.

  1. What do you think about the role of translation?

Translation is an indispensable human activity. In this world, there is a huge linguistic and cultural multiplicity, and in every language, there is a literary, intellectual and scientific wealth. In addition, translation is the main channel for communication and cultural exchange between the peoples.

  1. What is the challenge when translating western publications into Arabic?

The greatest problem of the translation is the inability of the translator to pass on the exact meaning of any single word in the text that you want to transfer to another language, each language belongs to a particular culture, so the interpreter can transmit the word into another language, but it will not be able to convey the culture of this word effectively, so convey the perception of the owner of the original word in the translation to the target language.

  1. Mention some of the publications you have translated– what has been the biggest challenge working with that kind of publications?

Well, I can mention my translation of the collection of short stories “South of no North”, by the American writer “Charles Bukowski”, and all the stories are about female characters and the sexuality, which is a taboo topic in the Arab world generally.

  1. In which countries has these publications been published?

I have dealt with many of the Arab publishing houses, Tunisian and Lebanese, Syrian and Saudi Arabian, but most of them are printing their books in Lebanon and distributed throughout the Arab countries, and in some cases can be found in Europe and Turkey and everywhere there are an Arabic readers.

  1. How have these publications been received? Have there been different views on your work in each country?

Actually, this works have been received with general approbation. In addition, some reviews were written in different Arabic countries. Especially “Ask the Dust” a novel by John Fante, for instance, is among the best sellers in Egypt.

  1. Can you come with some reflections about being an artist in war-areas?

I think that the role of the artist or the writer generally at the time of the war is to be a witness and record his experiences

  1. What do you think your role is in the process of translation?

The main task of the translator is to be a faithful spokesperson of the original writer; it is far from replacing one language for another. The new text has to be an equivalent of the original text, not duplication.

  1. How can you use your cultural background in Danish art and culture? Do you think you see it from another perspective?

I hope that during my stay here in Denmark, I will come to know more about Danish art and culture so I can introduce it later to the Arab readers. From this perspective: all the cultures look like the color of the rainbow, each color has its beauty and particularity.