First Day of Being a Refugee

Artwork based on the real story with aims to raise public awareness about the challenges that refugees encounter, such as the language barrier, overcrowding, depression, and discrimination.



This piece of artwork was inspired by my anonymous refugee friend from Afghanistan in San Diego and this artwork is based on the difficulties she faced on the first day of being a refugee in the United States. The first left corner demonstrates the language barrier she faced when she sought to find a job here with completely no understanding of English. The employer had no clue what she talked about, neither did she understand the employer. Moreover, without the formal dressing, she was forced to leave the human resources center with such embarrassing memories and the pain of not being able to find jobs. The right corner depicts her “new” home is crowded with four other refugees, and the noise kept her awake all day and night. She had no choice but to share a room with four other girls not only with little privacy but also the nose made her suffer from neurasthenia which caused her constant pain in her head. The bottom left picture demonstrates how her neurasthenia and her trauma of fleeing from her home country had caused her depression. She could not fall asleep during the night due to the nostalgia and the fear of death caused by the war. Last but not least, the right bottom picture shows the discrimination toward her during school where she was set up and tripped on a banana peel. Nobody helped her after she collapsed; instead, everyone laughed at her because of her refugee status. Finally, my artwork aims to raise public awareness about the challenges that refugees encounter, such as the language barrier, overcrowding, depression, and discrimination.


I created this artwork on my iPad Pro 2019 with Procreate, and my refugee friend’s heartbreaking experience had made me meditate on the gap of aid for refugees in our modern society. The current refugee aid is not enough, and there should be more to be done. Hence, I want to urge everyone in society, not just the government, to speak up for refugees and fight for a society that welcomes everyone regardless of their identity.

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