In honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, 2017, we’d like to share an art piece created from a 16 year old female’s passion for learning more about the experience of a refugee.

Below are the words of this artist explaining what inspired this beautiful piece of work:

“The refugee crisis is the story of our time. How we are dealing with it is defining who we are.  I can’t not deal with it in my work.  To create is to be curious, engaged, awake, and in earnest dialogue with the unknown.  And truly, it is through dance that I have the best hope of honoring a subject I care so deeply about” –Crystal Pite

I remember when my family had originally booked this ballet, it was on a whim and truly the only reasons were because we’ve never seen a ballet or the royal opera house. I remember the concern my brother and I had when we looked around and noticed we were the only teenagers.  Though when the dancers- in their grey worn jackets appeared in the single light, all clumped together, moving eerily as if they were one single wave, my jaw was agape and I was captured in their stories, in the story they shared and the ones they did not.  Flight’s Pattern was a play that stuck with me, followed me the entire time I stayed in Europe, and then hopped on the plane home with me.

I remember when as I came out of the train station in Brussels, it was initially startling to see the refugees littering the streets, with their own grey worn jackets on their shoulders. It was in Brussels especially that I kept seeing shadows of Flight’s Pattern.  It never left my mind, not even for a second, and that’s when I came to a startling realization.  The refugee crisis is not just one of those things I can blatantly ignore because I see it on the internet.  It’s actually happening, along with much worse, and although I knew this at heart, I never consciously made the effort to realize it.  I remember on the flight back to Canada, I stared  out the window at the plane’s wings, and wished that I could give all the refugees their homes back, give them education—safety—love—shelter—peace.

Flight’s Pattern inspired me to create my own art, through painting ‘that I have the best hope of honoring a subject’ that I now care for tremendously.  It’s inspired me to work harder towards my own future, but also to spread my art, spread kindness, and love.  In hopes that I too can do what Crystal Pite did for me, to spread hope, to spread this message, to raise awareness of the refugees in not only Syria but around the world.  There are constantly thousands of generations becoming lost because of wars and conflicts, I’d hope through my art that I’d be able to give those grey-cloaked dancers another person to lean on.

Anonymous 16 year old Female