Refugees tell their stories through art

A group of female refugees who have been involved in the “Mouth of a Shark” exhibition in Edinburgh, visited the venue on Saturday, for the first time, to tell people the story behind each drawing.

The Mouth of a Shark exhibition, which is being held in Castle Mills in Dundee Street now, has been organised by artists from Edinburgh Printmakers and Cork Printmakers, in response to the British Somali poet Warsan Shire.

Shire said: “No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”

The migrants worked with a Polish artist for weeks on a project called the Life Lines, which was about mono printing outline, and projecting the stories surrounding their lives and personal histories.

The artist, Anna York, who is one of the exhibition’s organisers, and the leader of the Life Lines project, said: “I’ve asked each of the women to draw a simple map of their experience. The next step was to sit on a blanket and talk about their life’s journey.

“After the conversation I’d sketched their feet, the beautiful human feet that took them all the way to Scotland.”

Amira Iban from Syria said: “I cannot believe that my story is told in such a beautiful exhibition where everyone can come and see the pain I have in my little heart.

“My story started from Syria where the war killed my husband and destroyed our lives, so we fled to Turkey where I struggled to find shelter for my family to settle in, however, we ended up coming to Edinburgh which brought life back to my family.”

Another migrant, Basma Hamoodi, from Palestine, who joined the exhibition to explain her drawing and tell her story said: “My drawing tells my tough journey from my country to Scotland, leaving my family behind in the war which never ends.

“Even though I am settled in Edinburgh, I will never recover from the pain of the conflict in Palestine.

“It is a great idea to have my whole journey drawn on a small piece of paper as I have a lot to tell.”

The exhibition is held at Castle Mills in Dundee street, Edinburgh and will continue until 5th January 2020.