‘Where is Zuhause?’ is A Book Project Illustrated By Refugee Children In Berlin

Posted inCulturally-Related Design
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Where is Zuhause? is a project organized by artists and designers to create a series of workshops for refugee children living in Berlin that have come from places like Angola, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Russia, and other cities.

These workshops are safe spaces for children to share their sentiments and feelings freely through art. Each spread is lovely, raw, and filled with emotion. There's something extraordinary to visualize feelings that children have when going through something as heavy and complex as leaving their homes behind.

We are a group of artists and designers working on an ongoing project with refugee children. The project, called “Where is Zuhause?” has received the financial support of the Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung, SIN e.V. and the Bezirksamt Tempelhof-Schöneberg in Berlin, Germany.

“Where is Zuhause?” has primarily focused on organizing a series of artistic workshops with children aged 4 to 12, living in Berlin with their families and originally coming from Angola, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Palestine, Russia, Tunisia and Turkey. The objective of the workshops is to offer a platform for expression and connection for refugee children, and collect the material produced by them in response to a series of visual and narrative stimuli.

The children are let free to manifest their emotions through the exploration of visual paths ranging from figurative representation to more abstract drawings. Subsequently, each of these visual expressions are re-interpreted by us in the form of a small note or a visual composition, or both. In this way we intended to translate and enhance some of the feelings conveyed by the children’s drawing process. Most of these compositions are directly inspired by the handmade nature of the workshops, using natural elements such as leaves, seeds, fruit and vegetables, wood and soil, and other household items such as fabrics, paper and cardboard scraps, shoelaces, chalks and playdough.

In a secondary phase, the result of this artistic exchange between the children and us has been organized in a book format. The narrative sequence has been organized in an attempt to reproduce the children’s experience: from the departure from their countries and the welcome to Germany, to the integration process and expectations about the future. Thanks to our technical partnership with Dutch-based Zwaan Lenoir printing house, we have managed to print a first edition in a few limited copies.

You can browse this edition here: https://vimeo.com/500816174. At the same time, in order to communicate the project to a wider audience, we recently launched a webpage: www.whereiszuhause.com and a social media page on Instagram: www.instagram.com/where_is_zuhause/.

Whereas the scope of the initial project funded by the local institutions in Berlin has been reached, we now aim to continue and expand “Where is Zuhause?” to be more inclusive, diverse, and to connect different experiences with migrant and refugee children across Europe. At the same time, we would like to distribute the book to schools, companies and social institutions in Germany and Europe.

Project Credits:

Art directors: Carlos Vin Lopes & Valerio Nicoletti

Writer: Carlos Vin Lopes

Art teacher: Helena Mancelos

Artists: 12 refugee children

Printing House: Zwaan Lenoir

Funded by Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung