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11th October 2016

The Graffiti Project

The global refugee crisis is brought to light in Manchester’s Journeys Festival

The ‘Journeys Festival’ showcases and fosters creativity in Manchester’s refugee and asylum seeking communities in spectacular style, from theatre and music to stunning art pieces displayed around the city until the 12th October.

The art side of the festival was kicked off on the 5th October with the Container Project, the first part presenting the Graffiti Project; the complete transformation of a shipping container in St Ann’s Square by the art duo ‘Nomad Clan’.

The featured image does not show the finished product but marks only the beginning. The message it sends is a strong one, and makes it incredibly clear that the journey to find a home in Manchester has not been an easy one.

This image alone takes me back to hearing the news of the young Syrian boy becoming a victim of the struggle to find a different life, which lays heavy on my heart despite being half a world away.

The poppies—more of which, I am told, will be added to the final image—evoke the idea of the casualties of war. Poppies are inherently tied to many peoples’ notion of patriotism in Britain, as a symbol for the ones that are lost in conflict and those irreparably affected by it.

I think it is a fitting tribute or an interesting reminder that the people making these horrendously dangerous journeys are doing so due to conflict, due to wars which they did not start.

I have only seen the beginnings of the project but I will be returning to the square later in the festival to see the final piece, and explore all of the different parts of the journeys portrayed. I would thoroughly recommend a trip before the end of the festival, whether you have a few minutes or a few hours to sit and look at the amazing detail that I never thought possible to achieve with spray paint.

This is the kind of art that the soul yearns for, demands to be lost in, and find its own connection with the piece. I find it to be food for the mind and the heart, and I will be keeping my eye on ‘Nomad Clan’ in future.

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