Drawing Time


Drawing Time by #TheDirars, instigated by Lee Karen Stow, was hosted by the Wilberforce Institute in Hull.


Hope, a painting of a mother shielding her children from war as she gazes hopefully into the future, became the inspiration for the art installation Drawing Time. A series of hand-painted images on calico recreated one family’s journey from war-torn Darfur in Western Sudan, then conflict in Libya, and four years in a refugee camp, before resettlement in the UK.

Arafa, a single mother, and her children Omar, Gaida, Mayas, Ethar, Akram and Waeeil fled across borders in cars and in the backs of trucks. They survived a refugee boat crossing across the Mediterranean Sea before reaching the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Salloum refugee camp in Egypt.

Drawing Time is a storyboard on cloth, displayed on a reconstructed refugee tent, similar to the one the family occupied at the camp. Arafa had encouraged her children to continue their love of drawing and illustration to occupy the days, weeks, months and then years “waiting waiting, waiting.”

She said: “Art brought colour to our lives in the camp,” Soon the walls of their tent became a visual gallery of coping with a life in limbo.

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