Everyday Hope

To mark World Refugee Day, we commissioned Somalian-born photographer, Najma Abukar, to create Everyday Hope, a collection of portraits celebrating New Scots.

Everyday Hope is a series of photographic portraits, accompanied by conversations with eight people who have lived experience of forced displacement and who are now settled in Scotland.

The project brings together people who have migrated from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Eritrea and Ukraine. Everyday Hope interweaves voices from different generations and backgrounds. Some of the people photographed arrived in Scotland very recently, others settled here some 20 years ago.

“People are people, and they come here looking for life. They leave lots behind. They hope that they can build a life here, they hope that they can belong to here.”

Abukar shared conversation with participants about their personal life experiences, family, community, war, peace building and survival. Most of all, they talked about hope. Hope for themselves, hope for community, for future generations, collective hope and hope for the everyday. The struggle to hold onto hope in impossible circumstances, but also the very real need to have hope.

“Hope for me means survival… Because without that I wouldn’t have survived.”

Everyday Hope opens on World Refugee Day (Tuesday 20 June) and runs until Thursday 22 June. The exhibition will be on display at Civic House in Glasgow until Thursday 22 June. The series will also be available to view online at www.cross-borders.org from July.

Najma Abukar is a Somalian-born photographer who has resettled in Scotland. Her work documents cultural and gender identities, the African diaspora, and immigrant experiences. Being a first-generation migrant woman of African heritage, her photographic body of work focuses on the strife and resilience of the Other. Najma’s practice is concerned with issues of identity, belonging and (self) representation within the Scottish landscape.

Everyday Hope was commissioned by Refugee Festival Scotland and Cross Borders.

Refugee Festival Scotland celebrates the contribution refugees and asylum seekers make to Scotland and the welcome offered by local people. The festival runs from 16-25 June with more than 120 events taking place across Scotland which include: campaigning, exhibitions, food, discussions, music, dance, sports, storytelling, children and family activities.

Cross Borders is a programme of arts and cultural activism projects led by Scottish Refugee Council. These projects include mentoring, commissions and collaborations with artists, activists and cultural practitioners from refugee and other migrant backgrounds in Scotland

Header image is a portrait of Lula Tesfamiram by Najma Abukar