My Light is Your Light

Alaa Minawi (Palestine/Lebanon) 


A tribute in light.

My Light is Your Light was a tribute from artist Alaa Minawi (Palestine/Lebanon) to Syrian refugees and was placed in St James’s Churchyard.

This installation paid tribute to Syrian refugees and the terrible conditions they have experienced in their migrations across the world. The work was realised after Alaa Minawi worked for three years as an interpreter for Syrian, Iraqi, Sudanese and Somali refugees. When visiting the installation, the audience could also see Suspended, an artwork by Arabella Dorman inside St James’s Church Piccadilly.

He interpreted the final interviews that took place between the refugees and a DHS (Department of Homeland and Security) officer within which they received their final resettlement decisions. In these interviews, the refugees tell their traumatic stories, what they have been through and the reasons behind their displacement. Minawi interpreted interviews for more than 1,000 families and felt the need to express what he had heard.

These stories were embodied in art, the fragile outlines of a family glowing in the darkness.


“I would like people to know that these are not refugees. As an artist, it is important to highlight the fact that we need to view them as people who were forced to leave their homes. That is a much more powerful approach…. We have to go to the real meaning of the word ‘refugee’ without the fears that are currently stigmatising it.”

Alaa Minawi


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