Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Social media campaign welcomes newcomers

30 April 20150 comments
Kitiya holds up her artwork

Kitiya holds up her artwork

Last week a welcoming message to immigrants and refugees was heard loud and clear across Australia.

It seemed as if the entire creative community of the country took up their pens, paintbrushes and computer mice to write the words ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’ and then post it on social media.

The movement started when Adelaide artist Peter Drew designed and screen-printed 1000 posters with the four words written in bold type across them.

The project was inspired by the words ‘For those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share’, from the second verse of Australia’s national anthem.

Peter plastered 200 of the posters across the streets of Melbourne, and with the help of a ‘Pozible’ campaign will continue to put them up in all eight capital cities.

Australia’s biggest design blog ‘The Design Files’ was so moved by the idea that they decided to help make the message even louder.

Lucy Feagins, creator of the blog, asked artists from all mediums to create online flyers bearing the message ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’.

The response was huge, with the message going viral overnight. Illustrators, stylists and photographers throughout Australia published creative images of the slogan on all online platforms.

“(It’s) such a simple, powerful and positive gesture, at a time when racist rhetoric seems unbearably loud,” said Lucy on Instagram.

The simple campaign continues to grow enormously, sparking conversations about asylum seeker issues in Australia everywhere it reaches.

Craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas was one of the thousands of artists who contributed to the campaign. She became involved because she feels very strongly about the issues that are facing refugees.

“My dad’s Greek and mum’s Thai. My family migrated to Australia when I was eight-years-old so that we could have a better life. Though my experience was very different, I still feel an affinity with the issue; that everyone should have a right to a better life,” said Kitiya.

She puts the campaign’s success down to the reach of online media mixed with the power of art.

“Social media has been an amazing platform for catapulting artists’ careers and sharing their creative ways of communicating a message. An image can evoke so many emotions. Arts ability to instantly convey a message is very powerful,” Kitiya said.

“Having this go viral is bringing the positive message to a wide audience, making it clear internationally that not all Australians don’t support asylum seekers. And maybe somehow, refugees in detention might even hear the message and give them a sort of hope,” she said.

The Melbourne based artist, who has lived throughout the country, was awestruck at the national response.

“It’s really inspiring to be part of a community that can use design to respond to social issues. It’s something to be really proud of.”


Ruby Brown
AMES Staff Writer