Refugee Week is thrilled to announce that Murugiah will be creating the lead artwork for Refugee Week’s 25th Anniversary on the theme of compassion.

Murugiah is an award-winning artist based in London, raised in Wales, with Sri Lankan heritage. Murugiah trained as an architect in London before choosing his current creative path, specialising in illustration, art direction, typography and design. Today he makes psychedelic work infused with the dichotomy of his Sri Lankan heritage and western upbringing, all made in a surreal, joyful, loud and unapologetic style using bright bold colours and detailed graphical compositions. He’s worked with New Balance, Apple, Disney, Marvel, and EMPIRE Magazine, among others. We are honoured that he’ll be adding Refugee Week to this impressive roster. 

For the initial stage of the commission Murugiah has worked in collaboration with Compass Collective, a brilliant arts organisation which assist young people seeking asylum to build resilience and integrate them through theatre, music and film projects and arts-led professional development programmes.

To help develop the artwork, an incredible group of 10 young people from Compass Collective attended a workshop with Murugiah to creatively and collectively explore the theme of ‘compassion’. During the session, the group explored what compassion meant to them through conversation and creative exercises. We began by sharing what compassion meant in different languages before sharing what simple everyday acts of compassion look like and feel like. Most movingly, we gathered in a circle to share a moment of compassion that has shaped our lives.       

“Working with Counterpoints Arts has been a dream and a privilege, everyone is so kind and caring. Collaborating with Compass Collective on the Workshop with Compass’s young people was an extremely fulfilling experience and one I will never forget. Thank you to everyone I have worked with and met so far on this project. :)”Murugiah 

‘The young people were so inspired by meeting Murugiah and how he has forged a creative career for himself. It felt tangible and possible to be an artist after spending an evening with him! We had the chance to ask questions and share fears, which helped scatter doubts and motivate us to pursue our own creativity. We shared and drew stories of times that we had received compassion or given comparison to another. Thank you for enabling our young people to contribute towards the design. I came away feeling warm hearted and so touched by the kindness and power behind the words and experiences of ‘compassion’. – Leah (co-founder Compass Collective)

Some quotes from the Compass Collective group who attended the session:

“That was an amazing session! I learned how important it is to be compassionate in life and to show compassion for each other try to do good things for the ourselves, family, friends, community, society, and hopefully one day to the whole planet 🌎”

“Depending on the things that I experienced, Compassion means giving hope to those who think they are all alone in this world”

“It was a really interesting and useful session. It was nice to meet the excellent and talented artist Murugiah, he gave us career motivation, and creating compassion and stories through art was my first time to experience this. Big Thanks to the compass collective and counterpoint arts for making this excellent session possibility. It was a very good and interesting session  indeed!”

“The workshop we did with Leah and Murugiah and the other young people was so amazing as we used our imagination to throw more ideas about compassion. How it looks like and how it feels like and how does compassion affects our lives.”

“I learned more about compassion that made me reflect that acts of kindness can really make someones day and improve our lives in the way we cant even imagine unless we experience. Learned how to clear our mind on thoughts that hold us back and doesnt really help us to build a better future.”

“Compassion to me means a lot, as I try to be compassionate with other people and actually this what the world need the most right now. We re going thru very tough situations and lets compass each other with even a smile might make someone feel better. Before going to the others we need to compassion our selves as well and that happens only by us doing what we love the most and we feel more secured about it.”

Refugee Week is coordinated by Counterpoints Arts. Murugiah’s artwork is commissioned by Counterpoints Arts, a leading national organisation in the field of arts, migration and cultural change who support and produce the arts by and about migrants and refugees in partnership with BCMH–a London-based Design and Branding agency.

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Image credits:
(Cover image) Compass Collective Next Step’s “Compassion workshop” with Murugiah [Hossam Fazulla, Counterpoints Arts]
(Above) Murugiah portrait [by]