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For Refugee Week 2024

Updated: Jun 26

Espoir et Désespoir - Hope and Despair



It's a gel image print on a small recycled plywood panel made in March at one of Secure Scotland's Art Workshops at Words and Actions, organised by Keith Paton.  It references the refugee situation in France.


After a slow start to choose the subject matter and gradually work out possibilities as the afternoon progressed, it was drawn freehand before transferring the layers onto the board - beginning with the barbed wire, put up by the local and national authorities and the police to make it difficult to access crossing points leading to areas known to offer opportunities for escape over the English Channel (La Manche) - and for safety too at railway and road crossings.


Then it was the fragments of clothing and belongings, often seen caught in the barbs. These were drawn freehand directly onto the panel, using acrylic paint in the colours of the French flag. The red also the colour of blood; and grey wing-like rags for flight or death; and a red border on the damaged edge – like a red line put up by the UK Government against helping displaced people, caused by the very wars they support with rhetoric, weapons and manpower, and which send folk fleeing from their homelands - desperately putting their lives at risk to cross the Channel to England for what they hope will be a better life.


There was a delay while the words needed to express the plight of the people caught up in this terrible situation became apparent.  And the panel was complete.


Text and image Margaret Ferguson Burns June 2024

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