British Red Cross teams up with street artist Marcus Crocker to highlight Refugee Week

What do Lucian Freud, Freddie Mercury and Lord Richard Rogers have in common? As the British Red Cross points out with the help of a visually arresting campaign, they were all refugees or have parents who have fled persecution

What do Lucian Freud, Freddie Mercury and Lord Richard Rogers have in common? As the British Red Cross points out with the help of a visually arresting campaign, they were all refugees or have parents who have fled persecution.

The charity has teamed up with street artist Marcus Crocker to highlight the contributions made by refugees to Britain’s history and culture. Crocker produced a series of miniature, hand-sculpted figurines representing a number of iconic Brits, which will be dotted across five sites in London during Refugee Week 2013 (June 17-23). The campaign also encourages people to use #RefugeeWeek at each location to share images and thoughts.

Freddie Mercury, who fled Zanzibar with his family in 1964 at the start of the Zanzibar revolution, will be in situ near the Dominion Theatre

Lord Richard Rogers’ figurine will appear near the Millennium Dome. Rogers fled with his family from Trieste in 1939

Sir John Houblon near the Bank of England; the first Governor of the Bank of England fled religious persecution from the Low Countries in the 1600s

The displays aim to raise awareness of the iconic individuals’ refugee roots while celebrating their impact on British life, and they will be in situ throughout the week.

The installations will also include a set of three figurines representing the current refugee crisis in Syria and the work of the British Red Cross in helping refugees. They will be placed outside the British Red Cross destitution centre in Hackney.

All photographs by Matthew Percival @ British Red Cross

The campaign was devised in-house in collaboration with Crocker, whose work fit in well with the aim of the campaign. “I like to focus on people who may be isolated by society or who have seemingly fallen through the cracks and been forgotten: using the scale of the models to show how these individuals can be overlooked,” he explains. “I hope the figurines I have created for the Red Cross will encourage people to think differently about refugees.” See also the behind-the-scenes of the photo shoot for the above images, with some more thoughts from Crocker (below).

The models will be set up early on June 17 and then “left to fend for themselves”, according to British Red Cross social media officer Ed Lyon. “We all agreed to keep the project true to street art, we couldn’t be standing guard over them – even though we’re in love with these little figures.”

Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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