Watch: Animation from the Refugee Crisis

Taking another look at the animated works that featured in our Journeys Drawn exhibition.


  • Exhibitions

Journeys Drawn: Illustration from the Refugee Crisis told refugee stories, both observed and experience first-hand, through a range of different kinds of illustration – including animation. Here are a couple of the latter to watch this Refugee Week.

Rocket Man by Majid Adin

My story isn’t unique. In every place I have been, I have heard the story of people’s journeys and their struggle for a safe and peaceful life.

Iranian animator Majid Adin won a competition to create the first music video for Elton John’s 1972 hit ‘Rocket Man’ shortly after claiming asylum in the UK.

He evokes a powerfully nostalgic feeling through watercolour washes and line drawings in the film’s 7000-odd frames, making us think about the lyrics of the song in a completely new way.

Film courtesy of BlinkInk Productions. Music courtesy of Elton John.

Watch the animation:

See how it was made:

The Journey by Majid Adin

Adin was forced to leave Iran after being imprisoned for creating cartoons that criticised the government. After travelling by boat to Greece and then trekking across Serbia, he reached the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais. He eventually came to the UK, spending four hours locked inside a refrigerator on the back of a cargo truck.

Since Rocket Man, Adin has produced numerous films with organisations such as Help Refugees and PositiveNegatives.

Watch the animation:

Film created for Help Refugees, courtesy of Blinkink Productions. Music by Jack Savoretti.

North Star Fading by Karrie Fransman

As a white British woman I can’t claim that my experiences are anything like those of the refugees that I have met, but I hope I can provide a new way of seeing the refugee crisis that engages people’s hearts and minds.

This infinite zoom comic by Karrie Fransman uses the real testimonies of four Eritrean refugees who fled their homes and made the dangerous journey across Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to Europe.

For each frame of the animation, Karrie drew a small box in the centre of the screen, then zoomed into this box so it filled the whole frame. She then drew the next frame within the space in the centre of the image. Putting all of these frames together created an animation that draws the viewer in – and the end links back to the beginning to create an infinite loop. This highlights the devastating and frustrating reality for refugees who get deported.

It was commissioned by PositiveNegatives, an organisation that produces literary comics, animations and podcasts about humanitarian issues, and is accompanied by a soundtrack by Eritrean multi-disciplinary Lula Mebrahtu.

Read more about what we learnt from the exhibition and download our free resources for teaching and learning about refugee experiences.