New art installation unveiled in London to promote compassion towards refugees - FAD Magazine

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New art installation unveiled in London to promote compassion towards refugees

A new art installation has been unveiled in London’s Southbank Centre to promote compassion towards refugees.

Photo: Simon Tang

This comes as the government tries to implement its controversial Illegal Immigration Bill, criticised by the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNCHR) for extinguishing most refugees’ right to seek asylum.

Continuing our long-term partnership with Counterpoints Arts, we are delighted to host Murugiah’s artwork on site as part of Refugee Week 2023. This new work commissioned by Choose Love and Counterpoints Arts sits alongside an extensive range of events to mark the 25th year of Refugee Week, and speaks to the Southbank Centre’s commitment of being a welcoming home for everyone.

Ruth Hardie, Head of Public Programming at the Southbank Centre,
From Right to Left: Josie Naughton (CEO, Choose Love), Leah Gayer (Co-Founder, Compass Collective), Murugiah (Artist), Ebrahim Esmail (Executive Director, Compass Collective), Unknown, Almir Koldzic (Founder, Counterpoint Arts) Photo: Simon Tang

The installation has been commissioned by Choose Love and Counterpoints Arts, working in collaboration with Students Rebuild and Southbank Centre, to mark the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week (w/c 19th June).

We are so thrilled to see this project bring our sector together using art as the connection between people, to inspire hope in the face of the UK government’s attack on refugees.

Choose Love was founded to unite people with compassion. As the world’s displaced population continues to grow, we now have an opportunity to show compassion to refugees, as survivors of unthinkable hardship who dream of living in safety.

Josie Naughton, CEO of Choose Love, said:

The work has been developed with a group of young asylum seekers from Compass Collective and inspired by the artwork of young pupils across the UK featuring messages of welcome for refugees and those seeking asylum around the world.

The installation has been designed by Murugiah, an award-winning artist, known for psychedelic art influenced by his Sri Lankan heritage.

Murugiah photo: Simon Tang

This year marks 25 years of Refugee Week and this year’s theme of Compassion is as poignant as ever.

I’m a former architect and The Royal Festival Hall is my favourite building in London, so it means the world to me that we have created this installation here at the Southbank Centre. I hope we can spread, peace, love, positivity and most of all compassion to all that see the installation


Murugiah spoke to 10 young asylum seekers about what compassion means to them, in collaboration with Compass Collective, to inspire the installation.  It aims to show how even the smallest acts of kindness can significantly improve people’s lives. 

Almir Koldzic, Director of Counterpoints Arts said:

It has been a fantastic experience to collaborate with Murugiah and other partners on developing this commission. Creating a piece of work that is inspired by the lived experiences of young people and refugees from the UK, has been a moving process with a stunning outcome. The digital version of the work has already received an amazing reception from our Refugee Week international network, promoting Compassion’ in hundreds of towns and cities across the UK and beyond.

At a time when our society urgently needs a more positive vision, this work comes as a beautiful and timely invitation to broaden our compassion as a way of building a more inclusive, united and caring society.

The art installation will be housed in the foyer display window next to Foyles Bookshop until 5th July.

Refugee Week is the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. It was founded in 1998 and is held every year around World Refugee Day (20th June). Refugee Week UK is a partnership project managed by Counterpoints Arts.


Murugiah is an award-winning multi & interdimensional artist in London, UK exploring identity & awe & everything inbetween based in London, U.K. Born in England & raised in Wales with Sri Lankan heritage, Murugiah trained as an architect in London before choosing his current creative path, specialising in Fine art, illustration, art direction, typography and design. Today, he makes psychedelic work infused with the dichotomy of his Sri Lankan heritage and western upbringing. All made in a surreal, joyful, style using bright bold colours and detailed graphical compositions.

His selected collaborators and commissioners include New Balance, Apple, Disney, Marvel, Facebook, Penguin, Vans, Wired, Los Angeles Times, and Mondo. And he has been featured by BBC, Creative Boom, Creative Lives in Progress, Digital Arts, and SixtySix Magazine. Murugiah is currently available for projects and commissions. @_murugiah

Choose Love is Europe’s largest funder of grassroots refugee organisations. They go where the need is greatest, find the local organisations doing the most effective work, and give them what they need to help people – whether that’s funding, material aid or volunteers. With this model, they have managed to reach over 3.9 million people through over 410 projects in 34 countries, with 82% of donations going directly towards supporting refugees. @chooselove

About Students Rebuild Students Rebuild mobilises students and teachers for collective action through art and philanthropy. Part art project, part philanthropy, part immersion in global learning, Students Rebuild Challenges connect K-12 students worldwide in a common effort to make a difference, while giving you the tools and flexibility to teach your way. @studentsrebuild



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