Posted: 29 July 2019

Street art for solidarity: child refugees paint mural in Leeds

A new mural has just appeared on Leeds’ riverside, designed and painted by ST4R (#StandTogether4Refugees).

ST4R are a group of child refugees who work together to represent the voices of child refugees in Leeds through campaigning and awareness raising. They want to send a message of understanding and solidarity to the people of Leeds.

leeds refugee mural

The children and young people in ST4R have come together with a common purpose; to improve the situation for child refugees in Leeds.

'I know how it feels to be alone and I would like to help people' - young refugee

Isolation is common for young people who have left behind friends and family to seek safety abroad. ST4R gives these young people a space to socialise and meet others with similar experiences,

Why did ST4R paint this mural?

The young people wanted to challenge negative stereotypes about refugees, and give people an opportunity to demonstrate their solidarity with refugees by taking their photo standing by the mural and sharing it online.

'I would like people walking past the mural to understand the problems refugees face' - young refugee

A part of the mural shows a young person carrying a heavy load with words depicting the burdens they face, an image designed by a young person who wanted people to think about how they would feel if their child was alone in an unknown place.

For one young person, the artwork represents coming together: 'The different flags represents us coming together…People come from different countries and they stand and have conversations with each other and work together, be friends together and help each other'.

refugee mural leeds

When the group were designing the mural they discussed wanting people to understand that being a refugee is not a choice. Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their homes to flee war or persecution, and are unable to return home safely. Many young people in the group were separated from their parents, and left their homes as children to seek safety elsewhere.

'We are asking people to go and take a picture with the mural'

The group have designed the mural to spark a social media campaign of solidarity.

To support this campaign, please share this article and your photos of this mural on social media to show that you stand for a Leeds that welcomes child refugees. If you would like to support this campaign please use the hashtag #StandTogether4Refugees.

our work with young refugees

To see the mural for yourself, take a walk along the river Aire, about 7 minutes south of the Royal Armouries Museum.

Thank you to Vicker’s Oils for allowing us to use your wall, and your kind donation towards painting supplies, and Elliot Wigzell for your time and artistic skill. Thanks to Councillor Paul Wray and Canal and River Trust for supporting this project.

By Ella

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