In the middle of no where, with fear, pain and uncertainty, refugees were uprooted by conflict, climate disaster, or political instability, running for safety. Displaced from their communities and any semblance of normality, nation-less and stateless, denied access to education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement, there are about 30 million refugees worldwide and statistically over half of them are children.
That’s more than any of 49 states in the US, ranking 2nd just under California if they were a state, or larger than Australia, South Korea, or Taiwan as a country.
“Respect Refugees” is a representation of a multi cultural refugees scene, a Yuroz mural commissioned by United Nations year 2000 for their humanities education program which published this image as stamps and sold about 3 million stamps in over 20 countries. Capturing one moment of their passage on road, with a background with no skyline, symbolizing the state of “in the middle of no where”, Yuroz depicted pain and sorrow, hopelessness and sickness among the refugees. The artist, however, also shined a light on their fellowship of hope and the tenacity to move forward. With a vague skyline of civilization appearing in the corner, the artist gave the refugees a glimmer of light, the humanity and kindness one seeks from civilization.
At this World Refugees Day 2020, also the 20th anniversary of Yuroz’s “Respect Refugees” project, the artist can’t help but ask the question, “If you were to meet them as a citizen of a nation or a state of 30 million people each holding a child, how would you greet them?”
View Yuroz’s video presentation from archive at our Vimeo site regarding the mural
View images of this masterpiece below: