Artwork entitled 'A Journey by Boat'

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'A Journey by Boat.' Drawing of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

This striking piece of artwork from 2016, titled 'A Journey by Boat,' details the vivid imagery of refugees on board an overcrowded boat sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. As its texture suggests, the drawing was produced with coloured pencil crayons on A4 paper, and then reproduced via print onto a canvas, of dimensions approximating 45 x 34 cm. The artist drew 'A Journey by Boat' at a British Red Cross, young refugee support centre in Gravesend, Kent.

The drawing was created by a female refugee, in her teens. In this, she recollects the unfortunate experience of fleeing her home country on an overcrowded boat, headed for Europe. It depicts quite dismal imagery; many individuals wearing life jackets in the same situation, have been detailed with facial features and expressions of sadness and depression, surrounded by nothing but the sun and the sea. These two characteristics that would otherwise be associated with recreation and relaxation, have been used to depict this harrowing event. This is made more personal by the artist's input, stating that she is able to put a name to every face in her drawing.

I was blown away by the colourful imagery used within an otherwise sombre drawing, of an unforgettable day in this refugee's life. The artist has clearly illustrated her terrifying experience of fleeing a place she once called 'home.' People misplaced - with not a smile on anyone's face - aboard an overcrowded boat, sailing in the middle of nowhere.

Audio recording by Mahdi Ali (volunteer, Manchester
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More than 5,000 people lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016. The boats in which they attempt to cross are often overcrowded and not sea-worthy. Some people die of exposure and dehydration during the crossing, others suffer burns or poisoning from sitting too close to the boats’ diesel engine.
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