MADRID – In a bid to change people’s perceptions, bring about social change and raise awareness about the harsh realities many migrants and refugees face today, a Spanish university and an NGO have teamed up to launch a striking exhibit featuring works created by 200 art students that was inaugurated on Thursday in Spain’s capital.
The collection, titled “Gazes That Migrate” includes 64 posters, three art installations and 20 short films that highlight the human costs of the forced displacement suffered by more than 65 million migrant persons and refugees across the world – including the widespread violation of their human rights – with the aim of fostering a culture of acceptance among young people.
“These kinds of projects connect educational institutions with the global realities of their surroundings, at the same time activating the immense potential for social transformation possessed by young people,” said Clara Maeztu, a member of the non-formal education team at the Jesuit NGO Entreculturas, which organized the exhibit along with the Complutense University of Madrid’s Fine Arts faculty.
According to Maeztu, the students who took part in the project poured all their creativity, sensitivity and commitment into creating artworks meant to make others reflect on the need to foster a culture of acceptance in our society.
Juanita Begés, a professor at the university, said she was proud of her students and lauded their ability to mature over the course of the project, eventually taking it into their own hands.
Student Carlota Rivero, meanwhile, emphasized the fact that helping and cooperating with people outside the classroom became a significant motivational factor.
Some of the themes chosen by the participants to transmit their message included the slogans “It’s not fiction, it’s a reality,” “Open your eyes against aporophobia” (meaning an aversion toward people living in poverty), “Innocence cannot be trafficked with,” and “We’re on the same boat.”
In a joint statement, Begés – along with her colleagues Isabel Fernández and Ángel Sesma – said that the students had surpassed the project’s original aims through their sincerity, implication and creativity.
“Reality seeps into the classroom, and in that process, future designers are trained in skills that will allow them to get involved and engage as world citizens, transforming their creative capacities into a channel for spreading awareness,” said the professors, who teach various courses within the college’s undergraduate degree in Design.
“Gazes That Migrate,” which this year sees its second edition, is set to be displayed at the Fine Arts faculty until May 25.