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Refugees remember home through local art show

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SALT LAKE CITY — Lutheran Social Service of Utah has brought together people from around the world for a unique exhibit. The artworks are expressions of refugees, now trying to make a new life in our state.

In the "Excuse me while I Kiss the Sky" exhibit, the names of the artists are displayed on the left and the countries they originate from are displayed on the right. Through their art, the refugees are remembering their homelands.

With lively lunchtime music, people from Africa, Asia and Middle East gathered to share a meal and celebrate an exhibit.

"As people enter the community, they want to share their talent, or learn new talents and this art gallery and music performance highlights three continents of refugees who have come to the United States," said Leslie Whited, CEO of the Lutheran Social Service of Utah.

The art of Agbar Daeery of Iran is striking. An award-winning professional, he arrived in Utah four months ago. He wants Americans to know the humble, good people of his country.

The "Excuse me while I Kiss the Sky" art exhibit will take place at the Salt Lake County North Building through September 21.

"Especially people who live in small cities and villages in Iran," Daeery said. "I want to picture that. And people around the world can know what Iranians are."

The others, some first time artists, have recreated colors of the land they left.

"It is is a place to heal and a place to create beauty and it also helps them draw things that are sad," said Marcia Walke, Art Instuctor of the refugee program.

Watta Sesey escaped the conflict in Liberia six years ago. She wants to remember Africa but mourns the loss of loved ones.

"War scatter us, I didn't see some there," Sesey said. "I came and my mom died, my uncle and children."

Classes in English and art help the transition to a new life, but the refugees will never forget where they came from.

The "Excuse me while I Kiss the Sky" art exhibit will take place at the Salt Lake County North Building through September 21.


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Carole Mikita


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