Flying the Flag for Refugee Week

Published: 12 June 2023

Artist Iman Tajik's flag flown from the University of Glasgow flagpole to mark Refugee Week 2023.

To mark Refugee Week 2023, The Hunterian will display artist Iman Tajik’s Who Is? flag, currently part of our exhibition Unravelling Times, on the University of Glasgow’s North flagpole. 

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week, held every year to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Tajik’s white flag embellished with the words “Who are they? Who are we?” aims to draw attention to the plight of migrants and comments on the borders, both visible and invisible, that we have created throughout history. 

Tajik’s politically-engaged work features in current exhibition Unravelling Times at the Hunterian Art Gallery and conveys his own experience of migration and border-crossing. His featured work includes images from photographic series Calais (2015), created during the artist’s visit to the migrant camp infamously dubbed ‘The Jungle’ and footage from his Bordered Miles project in which he staged a walk to the Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre.

Through a programme of arts and events, Refugee Week seeks to encourage an understanding of why people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety. By flying the Who Is?flag from the University of Glasgow’s flagpole, The Hunterian seeks to provide a platform for people who have sought refuge in Scotland and promotes the University as a welcoming place of safety for all.  The University of Glasgow is part of the City of Sanctuary UK initiative and holds a University of Sanctuary status in recognition of its commitment to supporting people who have experienced forced migration.

The Who Is? flag is part of an ongoing art project between artists Iman Tajik and Jonas Jessen Hansen, created to open conversation surrounding the current migrant crisis and the treatment of refugees. The flag was first exhibited on World Refugee Day in 2017 and has since been exhibited in various countries all over the world. It will be on display on the University of Glasgow North flagpole located at the main gate for Refugee Week, from Monday 19–Sunday 25 June.

Unravelling Times is at the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, until 15 October 2023. Admission is free.

First published: 12 June 2023

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