The London Exhibition Humanising the Refugee Narrative

Telling the stories of those typically left unheard

It was only three years ago that the world witnessed the beginnings of what has snowballed into the worst refugee crisis the world has ever seen. From the Middle East to Sub-Saharan Africa, the world watched as millions fled their war-torn homes.


Risks considered but waved aside, millions embarked on gruesome journeys across deadly seas to find their way to safety. As of 2018, the UN counts over 25 million refugees worldwide. Of that record figure, only a little over 100,000 persons have been resettled—among them is Iranian animator Majid Adin, and Palestinian-Syrian cartoonist Mahmoud Salameh.


© Kate Evans Threads


And just like the 25 million others, Adin and Salameh carry their own horrific stories of escape. For Adin, it involves 50 failed attempts and having to be locked in a refrigerator for 12 hours. No less distressing, Salameh’s story trails through 17 months spent in an Australian detention centre.


The two have since found refuge in London. And until March, they’re being in the spotlight in a bid to tell their stories as part of House of Illustration’s latest exhibition, Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis.


Featuring 40 different works, the exhibition carries one goal: to give artists an opportunity to be visual journalists, to tell stories not only typically unheard, but very seldom documented.


© Kate Evans Threads


Along with Adin’s award-winning animation for Elton John’s “Rocket Man” (which was inspired by his personal journey), and Salameh’s bold cartoons, 10 other artists join them to tell stories they’ve observed. From a graphic novel recounting time spent in the Calais ‘Jungle’, war-zone reportage straight from Syria, to digital portraits taken of refugees arriving to the Greek island of Kos—the exhibition is one not to miss.



Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis runs until March 10, 2019 at House of Illustrations, London.

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