Refugee Week 2021:‘Homing Pigeons – Birds with Wishes’ at Christ Church

by Rose Barrett
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BY Rose Barrett

‘Homing Pigeons – Birds with Wishes’ is a delightful children’s exhibition on display at Christ Church Cathedral during Refugee Week 2021.

The exhibition entails 16 pieces of artwork focusing on birds, all drawn by 9-10 year old school children in Aleppo, Syria.

The title of the exhibition is very apt, stated architect Muhammad Achour, who came to Ireland as a refugee in 2015. A qualified architect in his native country, he then completed his degree at Dublin City University (DCU) where he is now an assistant teacher along with being a director at Places of ARcture in Dublin.

Muhammad Achour, Director of Places of Actour

“In Egypt, the homing pigeon was widely used for carrying messages and returning with a reply. For the refugee community here in Dublin, we too hope that one day, we can return home safely – like the homing pigeon!!

“Two years ago, inspired by the exhibition of ‘Welcome to the Flock’ created by Illustrators Ireland, in association with IBBY Ireland, Places of ARcture began developing the idea of an intercultural dialogue project through arts incorporating a birds’ theme. 

“Big thanks to Tatyana Stewart Feeney for the inspiration and collaboration, and also to Abby Sines, and Dania Alshelhawi – Events Production with Places of Arctour.”

Mr Achour continued: “We faced many obstacles in finding a place for our first exhibition. We were unable to partner with DCU due to the pandemic and we had difficulty in obtaining funding. We then resorted to a self-funded workshop.

“Luckily, our pilot project gained support from Christ Church Cathedral which refunded the cost of facilitating the first part of the project, the delivery of the art workshop in Aleppo, Syria for school children in collaboration with Scout of Syria.

“With the support of Christ Church, we can now host our exhibition here in Dublin this week, during Refugee Week.

“Please join us to see the original 16 pieces of artwork, and read the children’s wishes which accompany their bird pictures.”

Organised in collaboration with Places of ARcture, Homing Pigeons-Birds with Wishes will be on display from 14-20 June. Public opening hours: Weds 16 – Sat 19 June, from 10am-4pm (normal cathedral admission applies); free admission on Fri 18, from 6-8pm.

Dania Alshelhawi – Architect, Events Production with Places of Arctour

School and community groups are invited to book into the exhibition free of charge, on Mon 14 and Tues 15, from 10.30am – 4.30. Advance booking essential. Email [email protected]. The exhibition can be viewed online also at Christ Church Cathedral website.

Other events include: What’s the Story? Lives in Direct Provision, Thurs, 17 June, 7.30pm (Zoom); We cannot walk alone – Make your mark!  On Fri, 18 Sat, 19 June, 11am-5pm (make a chalk mural in the grounds/weather permitting);  Outdoor Community Market, Fri 18 and Sat 19, 11am-5pm; Sanctuary Sunday at 3.30pm to mark World Refugee Day, June 20 for an afternoon service of choral evensong with guest preacher, Pastor Ebenezer Segatu. Limited to 46 persons only, the event will be broadcast via webam.

For full details and event registration, see:

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