The mural, REFUGE, was designed and constructed in cooperation with Free Arts of Arizona and the Unaccompanied Minor Program at Catholic Charities. It is dedicated to all the children who have traveled in search of refuge, and all the children who now and in the future find themselves on a similar journey. The Mural honors and celebrates their bravery and sends them on their way with a blessing for shelter and continued growth throughout their travels.
REFUGE grew from an idea that life’s journey and search for a safe place is something we all have experienced at one time or another. This piece represents a journey of migration many children experience. The primary story told by the work is found in the individual ceramic tiles made by the children to represent a place, person or event where each child found shelter along their way. In some cases, the tiles represent refuge dreamed of, but not yet found.
Emanating from verdant mother earth is a seasoned tree,which represents support, connectivity and nourishment for personal growth along their way. The ceramic leaves serving as the tree’s canopy were made by community members comprised of foster families, teachers, counselors and friends, and represent shelter and protection. Present throughout is the River of Life, ever present, never ending: Healing, buoying and offering opportunity for new adventure and possibility.