Children speak 'universal language' with art - San Antonio Express-News
A child's vision of living in a world united by diverse languages and cultures was showcased Monday in an art show sponsored by Catholic Charities Refugee Services.
More than 70 people attended the show, which featured art and essays by refugee and American students in honor of World Refugee Day.
Master of ceremonies Jennifer Yanez-Alaniz said the children were asked to create art showing how they could learn from each other.
Steve Saldaña, president of Catholic Charities, said the children spoke a “universal language” through “art that we can understand.”
Local artists Adan Hernandez, Lauren Browning, Seth Camm, Jacinto Guevara and Safa Al Rubaye judged the artwork and selected 18 paintings from 300 submissions to show at the event.
Paula Walker, Catholic Charities' director of refugee programs, said the day, sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, encouraged the public to do one thing through the year. “It would change their lives and welcome them to our community,” Walker said.
Walker said Catholic Charities will auction the artwork at its gala in October, which benefits the refugee community.
“It's amazing how the schools adjusted to it,” Walker said. “There wasn't any red tape; just a beautiful thing, not just refugee children, but American children coming together.”
Slideshow images flashed on the front wall of creations from students in the Northside Independent School District. Drawings of foreign flags followed people wearing festive garb.
Bianca Bohne, 11, read her essay, which included a line that called the day an opportunity to “be in the shoes of a refugee.”
“I think it was pretty cool to write about World Refugee Day,” Bianca said. “I liked how everything came together and we shared everything.”
Jeddy Thang Val, 6, from Myanmar held one of the dozen certificates handed out to the young artists by refugee Lateef Mutleg, who fled his country to pursue his artwork.
Browning, one of the judges who picked the piece by second-grader Ernest Dusengimana, from Burundi, as Best in Show, said she was moved working with refugee children.
“Art has a power to heal,” Browning said, “and teach compassion and camaraderie. It's an amazing thing.”
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