I have been working locally with refugees since we moved to the Tri-Cities in the Summer of 2014. I unofficially began practicing (teaching) English with the people working in the Halal stores. My husband and I invited some people over for dinner and games and I became close friends. I have paintings inspired by times spent with these friends and their families (These pieces were included in the gallery exhibition of my Travel Your City project.
Since then I’ve began teaching English classes at the Family Learning center. My students so far have been from Burma, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Iraq and Syria. These cultures and languages influence my work as well.
In the Spring of 2017 I was blessed with the privilege to work in refugee camps in Italy (Including Mineo, the largest camp in Europe). Much of my refugee specific work and in progress work is in response to this trip. The city of Catania is near several beaches that people wash up on coming from Africa. The photos of the boats and dingys overflowing with people are coming to this island.
I intend to have a couple small exhibitions of this work but for now you can follow my progress, thoughts and various responses on Instagram with the hashtags #RefugeeStoriesFF and #RefugeeBoatsFF.