Drawing Time – Our story details a refugee family’s story through art created during their long journey from Darfur to Hull
Our project will, through personal artwork and life-story sharing, bring members of the Hull Women’s Refugee Group together with members of the public within a city centre space. The Hull Women’s Refugee Group is a Refugee Council project as part of the Resettlement Programme.
This is the story of the Dirar family’s journey from war to peace. From Darfur in Western Sudan, to Libya, four years in a refugee camp in Egypt, and finally to resettlement in Hull. The family will recount their journey through their artwork and words, drawn and painted onto a reconstructed refugee tent as an installation.
In 2015 Arafa Hassan Gouda, a single mother, and her children were given the chance to resettle in Hull through the UK government's UN gateway resettlement programme. The family had fled from war-torn Darfur to safety, across borders in the back of trucks, in cars and on boats. Some of their friends drowned whilst attempting to cross the Mediterranean. During their flight, the family of six spent four years living in a tent in the Salloum Refugee Camp in Egypt.
To help her children cope with the cramp living conditions of the tent, and to give her children hope, Arafa organised art workshops and drawing competitions. She acquired basic materials, pens and crayons, from the aid agencies at the camp. Her children Mayas, Gaida, Ethar, Amr, Wael and Akram occupied the long, days, weeks and months “waiting waiting, waiting” drawing, sketching, writing poetry and prose. Soon the walls of their tent became their visual gallery of coping with their situation and a life in limbo. The tent walls became the backdrop for their storyboard of memories, thoughts, hopes and dreams. The boys drew Japanese and Korean-style comic strips and cartoons, creating alter egos based on their favourite superheroes. The girls drew portraits, fashion designs and even wrote a novel that told the story of two childhood friends separated by war. Arafa, the mother, also tried to make sense of how life had turned into a nightmare, through her writing.
Drawing Time - Our Story will be on show at the WISE Lecture Theatre for Freedom Festival August 30 to September 2 and Heritage Open Days September 3 to 9, 2018. Opening times 10am to 3pm.