I used the phrase: ‘Every suitcase tells a story’ as the theme for this display. Hands – holding up hands – spread out hands greeting us, asking for help or as protection from violence or disaster- are the basis of this display. I staple lots of them around the V-shape I create in the middle of the display board to give the display movement. Bars – borders – wires – fences are all ways to keep refugees out or in.
All refugees face obstacles and I use black netting to symbolize it. To represent all the refugees from all over the world in any kind of situation, I use the same image over and over because in spite of our differences we are all more or less the same in our wishes and dreams: a safe environment, a good place to live with healthy conditions. We all want a sturdy house, enough food, clean water, work, an income, freedom. We all want to be respected for what we are. We all want a safe and prosperous future.
Not only the people who escape war, drought, famine and disasters are refugees but also those who try to escape abuse and violence at home or in their environment can be considered as such. In front of the display board are a couple of suitcases arranged to symbolize the journey refugees make to find safe shelter. Every suitcase tells a story. Knowing the story is understanding those who look for refuge.
Because the other side of the display board is about Astronomy and I kept the dolphins of the previous display as the basis for the Milky Way (see: Sea life display) I thought it would be a good idea to create the same starry night for the display about refugees. We are all people under the same stars, when we look up at night we see the same sky and have similar dreams. The stars sparkle and give us hope. Spotting a falling star is even better. Do we not all believe that it makes our wish come true? Being a refugee makes it even more likely to look up at the sky: asking for help or wishing for a safe place to live.
What you need:
- Couple of old suitcases (Op shop – family – friends/colleagues)
- Silver wrapping paper Illuminating wrapping paper(see: Display tips) Christmas lights
- Garden or fishing netting
- Lots of cut out images of different coloured people in different sizes and different colours of card
- Lots of cut out images of hands in different sizes
- REFUGEE heading
What to do: Starry sky: Use the illuminating paper to cut out lots and lots of stars in different sizes. Have them laminated to give them more body. Wrap the silver wrapping paper around a frame attached to the display board and staple it in place. I I use the dolphins from the previous display as the base to create a starry sky. I just wrap silver wrapping paper around the board and staple it in place. Subsequently I attach the shiny stars all over the board and hang the Christmas lights in place.
Refugees: Cut lots and lots of images from a magazine or book that represents refugees. Copy them in different sizes. Paste them on different coloured card. Cut also lots and lots of hands from a magazine, book or Google images (be careful; copyright may apply) and paste them on the refugee images. Keep a dozen hands to staple directly on the display board.
Staple the silver coloured wrapping paper to the board. Create a line from the middle bottom part of the board to the middle left and right top part of the board. The V-shape overlaps the two iron beams in the middle and gives the display a dynamic feeling (see: Pirates display).
Staple the hands to the board but make sure not to use the space inside the V-shape. Staple the netting roughly over the hands to symbolize the fences, bars and borders that keep refugees from safety. Use the lines of the V-shape as the border.
Staple the heading of the display in the middle. Make sure the lines are straight. Under the heading I staple the phrase: ‘Every suitcase tells a story.’ Beginning at the end of the board I staple the smaller images of people and work towards the middle, ending with the largest images of people on the lines of the V-shape to create movement heading towards you. This symbolises all kinds of people coming from different directions, carrying their belongings in a suitcase, heading for safety.
Place the suitcases in front of the display. Arrange the books on the display stand, on top of the suitcases and on the floor in front of the display. Connect the power to the Christmas lights.