REFUGEES: lives behind the news

  • a safe and secure home
  • the ability to earn a living
  • education
  • health care
  • freedom to live with your cultural traditions
  • freedom to speak your mind
  • freedom to speak your language
  • freedom to travel
  • food on your table

We take these for granted. Others not so much.

Millions of people have left their homes for lack of these basic rights, often forcibly because of violence, war or persecution. In 2020, the number of forcibly displaced people surpassed 80 million. Of these, 26.3 million are refugees living outside their home countries; 4.2 million are actively seeking asylum. Forty percent of all displaced people are children.

This exhibition: REFUGEES: Lives Behind the News by Penny Dunford (Doris Crowston Gallery, Sechelt – July 2021) was her reaction to the global refugee crisis. All works were inspired by real-life photos spanning several years and the staggering statistics that tell the full story. A variety of styles, colours, sizes and mediums were used for different aspects of the refugee story: the chaos that forces them to leave their homes, the flight to escape, and the waiting in limbo for the return of a normal life. Hope for a more just and equitable world through global action is also part of the exhibition. A thirty-piece series combines each of the 30 articles of the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights with current photos showing that there is still much work to be done.

Refugee statistics are staggering. In 2018 there were 70.8 million forcible displaced people; in 2021 there were 89.3 million – a 26% increase. In 2019 there were 26 million refugees worldwide; there were 27.1 million in 2021. In 2018 there were 3.9 million people seeking asylum, 4.6 million in 2021. These statistics do not reflect the war in Ukraine.