Immersive art unveiled in London’s Southbank shows refugee’s journey to safety

Three fascinating artworks have been unveiled on London’s Southbank, depicting an Ethiopian refugee’s journey to safety in the UK.

That three-dimensional piece depicts the story of Ascender Turki, now a member of the Northern Ireland athletics team.

Street art created by the pair known as 3D Joe & Max describes how Mr Turkey, who fled his home in Ethiopia, took refuge in the UK and found healing through running.

Mr Turki said: “Ten years ago I could not imagine the life I am today.

“The support and community I have found in the UK through migrant assistance and in my running has helped me recover from the trauma of my past.

“I was forced to run away from my home and leave my family in Ethiopia, fearing for my life and seeking safety.

“Now, my running has saved me in many more ways. I have found new hope for my future – starting a family with my wife Amina, following a new career path, and running for the Northern Ireland team.


Ascender Turkey with Artwork

As part of a campaign by Migrant Aid to mark Refugee Week 2022, Mr Turkey has three artifacts representing the three phases of his journey.

The immersive style invites viewers to literally step into the frame, allowing people to place themselves in the different chapters of Mr. Turkey’s story.

The first piece depicts her escaping violence and persecution in Ethiopia, the second depicts her journey across the Mediterranean in a dinghy, and the third depicts her claiming asylum and settling in Northern Ireland, where she raced long distances. put.

Mr. Turki left Ethiopia in 2011 after being imprisoned and tortured for four months for participating in a student protest while studying electrical engineering in college.

His mother sold her property to raise money for him to escape to Sudan, fearing that he would end up like his father and brother, who were both killed by the military.

However, this was followed by a decade of abuse, during which he was enslaved at a Sudanese construction site, imprisoned by smugglers in Libya, fled in a canoe across the Mediterranean Sea, and attacked and in Italy. was homeless.

He eventually settled in Belfast in April 2019, and it was there that a doctor suggested he start running to manage his trauma. He did just that, and made it to the Northern Ireland and Ulster athletics team earlier this year.

Mr Turkey has already won a silver medal at the British Inter Counties Cross Country Championships.


Ascender Turkey has already won a silver medal at the British Inter Counties Cross Country Championships. (Migrant Assistance/PA)

In August he will make his track debut at the Northern Ireland Championships and Antrim Coast Half Marathon as part of the Elite Region, which will see him compete against some of the world’s top runners, including Sir Mo Farah.

Joe Hill of 3D Joe & Max said: “When I heard Ascender’s story, I was blown away. The journey he has gone on is immeasurable for those of us who haven’t faced such danger Is.

“Through the anamorphic artworks I create, I aim to convey the emotions of the moments that many refugees experience in their own way – be it fear, hope or loneliness.

“The scenes I create are never complete until people interact with them, and the purpose of these pieces is to allow the public to see themselves in Ascender’s experiences, what he really is.” To connect with him and celebrate the life he has created.”