Author Archives: mimitorchia

The cat man of Aleppo – 2

In some ways, the world has gotten very small thanks to social media. I have friends all over the world, including one in Syria. It’s easy for us Americans to pretend that places like Syria don’t exist, that is, until you actually KNOW someone there. And this is my friend Mohammed Alaa Aljaleel. He was in Aleppo. He was there saving lives, feeding cats, finding food for people while we were sitting here, safe in our heated and air conditioned homes, trying to decide whether or not we wanted to believe that Aleppo was even a place. He made the world very small for me, indeed, posting pictures every day; of cats, of his bombed out ambulance, of people waiting in the streets for food that he was somehow able to get, partially because of donations from friends like you and me. Who believed there were fathers and mothers with kids and cats and dogs that once lived in Syria, much like we do; going to work every day, buying groceries, making dinner, and feeding their cats – but couldn’t any more. Who believed that people in Syria could be deserving of charity and compassion, even if we don’t know their language, their customs, or their religion. Today, Alaa is safe. Alaa is trying to find a sanctuary, in a safer place, for the cats he rescued for his neighbors, for the orphans who will need a safe place to play. The money came from people who care from all over the world. Some of it came from children who could afford to donate 50 cents. Others are big spenders and have written out checks that would flatten my bank account. This painting is up for auction on the Il Gattaro di Aleppo page on facebook. I hope someone I know bids on it. In these times when so much in the world looks bad to me, a small group of compassionate people helping out a guy in Syria make me feel like there is still goodness in the world.

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A cat named Ernesto

I recently posted about the cat man of Aleppo, Mohammed Alaa Aljaleel, Il Gattaro di Aleppo. This is one of his pets. Ernesto seems to be a very easy going lovable little cat who clearly appreciates his human. Recently Alaa, as he is called, went to Turkey where he received all sorts of cat toys, cat beds, and commercial cat food. This painting depicts Ernesto in his very own plush bed. This painting is being auctioned to raise money for a sanctuary for cats and orphans in Syria.

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the cat man from Aleppo

One of the wonders of the internet includes the possibility for me to have friends just about anywhere. I had heard about a man in Aleppo, in Syria, in that horrible dangerous place, that was taking care of all the cats that fleeing people had to leave behind. What kind of man does that? He is my friend. I have a friend in Syria, how amazing is that? I painted his portrait, and it will be sold as a fund raiser, which will go not only to the homeless cats in Syria, but also to Syrian people needing help.

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A friend in Syria

I recently read a post being circulated by Americans trying to justify the changes in visa laws for people in Syria and several other countries. It demonized the people who live in those countries. This woman is caring for the pet cat that belonged to someone evacuated from Aleppo. She looks like someone who could be my friend. I love the colors of her clothes, her familiarity with the big cat, and the smile lines in her face. We are all sisters and brothers. There are good people everywhere. While the earnings from most of the paintings I sell go to a wildlife conservation program, this painting’s proceeds will go to Aleppo. I support an animal shelter in the making that is happening there. Please inquire if you want to buy this painting.

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Palmetto forest

One of my favorite things about Florida was the palmettos. They were everywhere, just like dandelions here. I had a little fun with transparent watercolor and opaque gouache on this one. It was fun going from background to foreground while maintaining the feel of the forest.

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