Saturday Art Club – Refugees welcome!

Every year on the 20th of June the world marks World Refugee Day. What can we do to mark this special day and think of ways to improve the lives of refugees? We have been inspired by one of the artworks in our collection, “Disorient” by Fiona Tan, to talk about migration and get creative around this topic.

Refugees are forced to leave their homes due to war, terror, or other crises, but fleeing their home country is often just the beginning of a difficult journey. This is a good opportunity to look around your community; notice and celebrate the different cultures of people living there. There are many things we can do to help! Scottish Refugee Council, for example, do lots of work on this, such as to train volunteer befrienders and ‘match’ them with children and young people, so that together they can get to know their local area and connect with their community. Friendship, social and community support is so important for unaccompanied children and young people arriving in Scotland. Befrienders also support children and young people to overcome challenges such as language and cultural barriers and the impact of trauma and anxiety about living in a new community and a different country.
You can help too! For example, you can make a flag to show you welcome refugees to Glasgow and put it up on your window.

For this project, you will need

  • paper
  • glue
  • scissors
  • coloured felt tip pens, crayons or coloured pencils
  • larger card in a different colour, like brown wrapping paper or recycled wrappings from your home
  • sellotape

Look for different words, phrases and images that relate to the theme of welcoming refugees in to your community. You can start with the word ‘welcome’. Think of suitable images such as hands, faces, world, trees etc. that would work well and do a simple sketch idea on paper with a pencil to test out your ideas before making the larger finished version.

To get clear writing that can be seen from a distance try out folding A4 paper in half and writing one letter per A5 portrait page, like we did. This will make all of the letters the same size.

Now it’s time to colour them in! Use coloured felt tip pens, crayons or coloured pencils to make the letters pop.

These letters can then be cut out and stuck down onto the larger paper, where you can add other words, drawings, symbols, stickers to complete your flag.

Now you’ll need to make a paper tube to attach to either side of the flag. To do them, take one piece of A3/4 paper and roll tightly from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner fix with sellotape. Then attach the paper tubes to either side of the flag. It is now ready for waving!

You can also try and say welcome or hello in other languages:

Iran: Khosh Amadid (Farsi greetings. To say “hello,” you would use “salaam alaykum”)

China: 你好!  (nǐ hǎo) / 您好!(nín hǎo) “Hello” A formal greeting.

Kurdish: Merheba! 

Albania: Good day – Mirëdita!

Eritrea:ሰላም (selam)

Pakistan: Use the phrase “As-Salam-u-Alaikum”, which means “Peace be unto you”. This phrase is pronounced “us-saa-laam-muu-alie-kum.”

Have fun and remember to share your creations with us in the comments section or on social media! #SaturdayArtClub

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