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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Immersive art showcased on London’s South Bank shows a refugee’s journey to safety

On the South Bank of London, three immersive works of art depicting the journey of an Ethiopian refugee to safety in the UK were displayed.

The 3D figures depict the story of Eskander Turki, who is now a member of the Northern Ireland athletics team.

Created by the duo known as 3D Joe & Max, the street art tells the story of how Mr Turki, who had run away from his home in Ethiopia, found refuge in the UK and found healing through running.

Mr Turki said: “Ten years ago I couldn’t imagine the life I live today.

“The support and community that I found in the UK through Help for Migrants and during my run helped me heal from the trauma of the past.

“I was forced to flee home and leave my family in Ethiopia, fearing for my life and seeking safety.

“Now my running has saved me in many other ways. I have found new hope for my future by starting a family with my wife Amina, choosing a new career path and racing for the Northern Ireland team.”

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Eskander Turki with artwork

There are three pieces of art representing the three stages of Mr Turki’s journey as part of the Refugee Week 2022 Migrant Help campaign.

The immersive style invites viewers to literally step into the frame, allowing people to place themselves in different chapters of Mr. Turki’s story.

The first shows him fleeing violence and persecution in Ethiopia, the second shows him traveling the Mediterranean by boat, and the third shows him seeking asylum and settling in Northern Ireland, where he took up long-distance running.

Mr. Turki left Ethiopia in 2011 after being imprisoned and tortured for four months for taking part in a student protest while studying electrical engineering in college.

His mother sold her property to raise money for him to escape to Sudan, fearing that he would end up like his father and brother, who were both killed by the military.

However, a decade of abuse followed, during which he was enslaved at a Sudanese construction site, imprisoned by smugglers in Libya, fled across the Mediterranean in a boat, attacked and left homeless in Italy.

He eventually settled in Belfast in April 2019 and it was there that a doctor advised him to take up running to deal with his injury. He did just that and earned a spot on the Northern Ireland and Ulster athletics teams earlier this year.

Mr Turki has already won a silver medal at the British County Cross Country Championships.

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Eskander Turki has already won a silver medal at the British County Cross Country Championships. (Aid to migrants/PA)

In August, he will make his athletics debut at the Northern Ireland Championships and the Antrim Coast Half Marathon as part of the elite category, where he will compete against some of the world’s best runners, including Sir Mo Farah.

Joe Hill of 3D Joe & Max said, “When I heard Eskander’s story, I was blown away. The journey he went through is incomprehensible to those of us who have not faced such danger.

“Through the anamorphic artwork I created, I sought to convey the emotions of the moments depicted, moments that many refugees experience in their own way, whether it be fear, hope or loneliness.

“The scenes I create will never be complete until people interact with them, and the purpose of these pieces is to allow the public to see themselves in Eskander’s experience, to truly connect with what he has been through and celebrate the life he has built.”

World Nation News Desk
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