Refugees use art to tell their stories
Some Bishop Viard College students with a refugee background, have become Porirua’s newest artists.
The group of 10 participated in a workshop as part of a project facilitated by Refugee Trauma Recovery. That led to an exhibition of colourful pieces of art in North City Shopping Centre.
Caroline Mastreani, from Refugee Trauma Recovery, said the art told of students’ journeys to a new place.
‘‘It tells their story and shows they are part of the community. For these young people, it gives them power and helps validate what they’ve been through,’’ Mastreani said.
The exhibition is entitled The Arrival – What it Means to be a Refugee. The theme, refugees are ordinary people who are living through extraordinary circumstances, was set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.
Mastreani said the idea of the exhibition was to engage and educate those who had limited or no understanding about refugees and to make the refugee experience more tangible and accessible for the public. Viard’s political refugee coordinator Robyn Teppett said the children were chosen because of where they came from.
Teppett said all pupils were from Colombia or Myanmar.
‘‘This was the first time our school has been chosen and while the students were a little shy at first, they really did enjoy themselves.’’
The exhibition finishes on June 23. It coincided with World Refugee Day on June 20.