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Refuge is a commissioned art piece that birthed from an anonymously written narrative, describing the distressing reality of life as a refugee from the perspective of a refugee rescue first responder.


Commissioned by nonprofit organization ‘Refugee Rescue’ Surah uses the visual language of abstraction, creating merging colour fields using data sheets provided by the rescue service. The sourced numeric data represents a selection of men, women and children saved from 2018 to 2020. It is indeed uncanny that these numbers which Surah has entered into a hexadecimal colour space render themselves as shades of blue akin to the ocean, the very expanse of sea which refugees navigate through to reach greener pastures.


Abstraction is an important part of Surah’s work, he states: ‘Abstraction is deception, it lures us in translating our own visual senses into something which perhaps is untrue or none existent. It plays with our perceptions and can trigger tranquillity, calmness, fear or any other amalgamation of feelings’. By beautifying the numeric into transitions of colour we are deceived to journey the darker truths of their original engagement to the viewer.


Accompanying this work is a short poem written by the artist, allowing the anonymous narrative a voice through modes of creative expression. Surah allows the poem to be revealed to the viewer using a QR code, offering an interaction with the art piece and showing the hidden part of the artists message and it’s underlying meaning. Ultimately, it’s the decryption of these visual codes revealing the visceral messages of the struggle regarding Refugee Rescue and its true response to the viewer.

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