Like so many others, Anas, 41, is a refugee from Syria, a country that has been devastated by war. After one of his daughters was killed in the conflict he knew that enough was enough and he fled, arriving in the UK with his wife and 3 other children in January 2017. Together they began rebuilding their lives in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Anas says: “England is a great country, a beautiful country and the people are lovely. I’m very relaxed and happy here, we have had no trouble so far.” Talking about the support that he has received from the Refugee Council, he says: “The Refugee Council really made my time and my family’s time in England a lot easier. They provided us with what we needed and they provided a great service. They inspired me to use my skills and they helped with finding a school for my kids. I am very thankful for the support I received from this charity.”
A former sign writer, Anas is passionate about art and in a foreign country with a new language that isn’t always easy to grapple with, creating things has taken on a new significance and a vitally important means to communication.
He says: “I never leave a piece of wood as it is, I carve it into something else. I recycle empty boxes and make them into art work. I love art work because I grew up with it and it started off as a hobby but then it became my job.”
Amongst many other pieces of art that Anas has created is this sign (pictured below) which celebrates the 20th anniversary of Refugee Week. Having been originally displayed at the Stephen Jones Theatre in Scarborough it is now in North Yorkshire County Hall. Anas says that the sign, “illustrates the fact that humanity prevails in the face of oppression and tyranny.”