A sorry sight in many parts of the world, this ‘refugee tent’ looks out of place among the greenery of Yorkshire.
The art installation – called ‘refuge/e’ – is a thought-provoking new attraction at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, providing a window into the life of a Syrian refugee in Lebanon.
It has been created by AMP Art from material shipped in from Beirut, including a United Nations ‘New Arrivals Kit’ and items which are common to refugee homes.
Dr Helen Pheby, senior curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, said: “Refuge/e is a highly important and particularly pertinent art installation and we’re really pleased to be part of its UK tour.
“The contrast between the open green space of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the reality of life for a Syrian refugee is evident. However, we hope the project will bring our visitors closer to understanding the lives of others and inspire an important dialogue on the refugee crisis.”
Stephen Stenning, director of Culture & Development Arts at The British Council, said: “The British Council sees the arts as a powerful tool for bringing about positive social change, in particular by extending safe spaces for culture, creative exploration and exchange.
“We were pleased to work with the refuge/e project as it conducted research in Lebanon as the first stage of creating ‘shelter sculpture’.
“The work they have done demonstrates a real commitment to conveying authentic voices and experiences through the project.”
AMP art directors – Georgia Haseldine, Paula Petkova and Pete Target – said: “When we visited the homes of Syrian refugees in Lebanon we saw inadequate shelter, no right to work, stifled family life, and huge levels of resilience.
“One father told us about a question from his son, ‘When are you going to build a tent for me?’ – he couldn’t imagine or remember much beyond their ‘temporary settlement’.
“Many people felt totally divorced from their surroundings; as one woman said, ‘none of this is mine’.
“Where do adults go to have difficult conversations out of earshot from the children?
“Where do people go to cry and mourn alone? We are thankful to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Millennium Gallery and BALTIC for daring to transplant this shelter onto British shores and further this discussion here.”
The touring art installation is at the YSP until March 26. From April 4-9 it will be at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and then at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, Gateshead, from April 13-17.