Sebastien Waknine: “Learning from Migrants and Refugees” In Barcelona

Owing to the scarceness of resources that are usually allotted to those who arrive as refugees, Street Artist and muralist Sebastien Waknine relies solely upon the thinnest piece of charcoal as he works on this new wall.

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)

“Learning from Migrants and Refugees” is the name of the collection of scenes that document the situations that people can be in when escaping from strife and fear – the human aspect of appealing to the help of another society. After five weeks of intensive work, Waknine stood aside during a public introduction as a Syrian man held the microphone and described the scenes to an assemble crowd in Barcelona.

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)

Created in the gardens on the Hospital of Sant Pau in Barcelona, the mural was commissioned by the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and will be exhibited in various locations within the city of Barcelona.

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)

Organizers say that the mural highlights the journey of refugees from the ravages of war and poverty in their countries as well as the realities of their living conditions in their host countries.

It is an unusual technique for a public work these days, as many have become accustomed to the splashy nature of big murals and festivals that present them. Here the warmth of the rendering and the humanity conveyed in the faces and gestures is only magnified when one gets close enough, even intimate with, the artwork.

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)

The detached impersonal nature of war by drone has enabled such masses of people to be uprooted and chased from their lives – and a viewer may contrast the experience of the driver of that drone drawn in the sky with close-up terror of innocents whom Waknine depicts.

Clearly there is much for us to learn.

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)

Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
Sebastien Waknine. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive)
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