In July I drove my van to one of the many refugee camps around Bochum, to work alongside Leah Wild and four Syrian and Kurdish volunteers. We had permission to paint the gigantic 400m x5oft wall to help try and beautifying the grey drab environment that the residents lived in. We also installed a cinema for entertainment and educational purposes where we presented Art For Action slideshows, and short documentaries about the power of street art and how it is being used across the world by an ever widening variety of people and cultures.
The boys we worked with who live in Germany are also refugees and without whom the project would have been almost impossible. They were all incredibly pro active and very happy to be doing something for their community. This gave them the chance feel and strong and worthwhile again and in doing so is helping them over come the trauma they have had to endure. Working with Leah Wild and Art For Action with these projects also boosts their CV’s as they try to reach independence and start again in their new home.
We ran preliminary art workshops with the kids using arts and crafts materials and also walked around the camp asking for the residents ideas and involvement about the design for the mural. This led to interesting discussions that would have been near impossible if it hadn’t been for the Syrian and Kurdish volunteers translating!