I wanted to contribute to the refugee story by focusing on their personhood by presenting cheeriness, hope, and perseverance through the symbolism of a flower, a family, and ladder.
Inspiration and Interpretation
My inspiration for the work was of the class reading, No Immigration Porn as well as a photograph of a small Syrian child and his father playing together happily. This inspired me because many times, immigrants and refugees are presented as silent and unrelatable. I wanted to contribute by creating an art piece that chooses to focus on the refugee as a person, rather than defining them as a subject in the crisis they're in. I represent cheeriness and personhood through the flowers, a ladder to represent hope, and a family.
The medium I used for this artwork was color pencil. I began my artistic process by first imagining what I thought was important to convey in regards to refugees. That was when I remembered about the no immigration porn assignment. I agreed with the journalist that art and photography can perpetuate negative perspectives of refugees. Therefore, in my own art piece, I wanted to contribute by practicing no immigration porn as well. Imagining this, I recalled a photograph taken from the eyes of a Syrian refugee in a refugee camp. In the picture, a father is shown playing with his child, and they both looked genuinely happy. I thought that it was a powerful picture because it showed personhood. There are far more pictures of refugees in camps, escaping on boats, and waiting in line for essentials, than pictures that give them a voice. Because of these things, I wanted to instead show happiness by using bright and cheerful colors, and beautiful flowers and a ladder to represent their perseverance and hope. I began by sketching the mother and child, then drew the ladder and father. I used a pencil to sketch, then cleaned the lines and began coloring. I used reference pictures for the flowers and ladder. In conclusion, my artistic process entailed brain-storming and use of reference to class materials in order to properly convey an honest representation of those who are refugees and immigrants.