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Paper birds the symbol for Refugee Week exhibition

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

The people of Calderdale have been called upon to show their compassion for people fleeing war and persecution, by contributing to a Refugee Week exhibition.

St Augustine's Centre in Halifax is asking for people across the borough to create paper birds with messages of compassion and welcome that will form part of a flock exhibited at Artworks Halifax during Refugee Week in late June.

Sara Robinson, Centre Director at St Augustine's Centre commented, "The theme of this year's Refugee Week is Compassion and we want to show how caring so many people in Halifax and Calderdale are when it comes to supporting people fleeing war and persecution.

"We have chosen birds as a symbol of compassion because they represent freedom and migration. Often birds fly together in unison, taking in turns to lead and support one another. It is that spirit of co-operation and compassion for one another that sits at the heart of Refuge Week and indeed Calderdale as we are a Valley of Sanctuary."

St Augustine's Centre is currently running workshops in five schools where artists are working with children to make 'birds of compassion' which will also contribute to the exhibition. The workshops are connected to a larger piece of temporary art that will be revealed during Refugee Week.

The paper birds will be hung from the ceiling with wire and form a flock or a 'murmuration' in the gallery of Artworks which is housed in a stunning Grade II-listed mill in central Halifax.

People of all ages are invited to design their own birds and make them out of paper or lightweight material, or they can download templates from the St Augustine's Centre website here.

Sara added, "We have some great templates for different abilities on our website designed by artist Rosie Moon. People can either download them and have a go at home or as part of a group, or they can come up with their own home-made creations. No rules – we'd would love to see the diversity of our community reflected in our flock, just don't forget to add you message of compassion on to your bird."

The birds will be exhibited alongside the artwork of St Augustine's Centre Members, including artists who are fleeing persecution: Julio, Shakhawan & Sumaia.

People should drop their birds off at either St Augustine's Centre or Artworks anytime before June 15th.

The exhibition will run at Artworks from June 19th - 25th.