Naomi Naus is a graphic designer from Holland, where she graduated from the art academy. Since the beginning of July, 2019, she has been hosting graphic designing workshops for our student's here at Where Borders Meet.
What brought you to Lesvos and to Where Borders Meet?
At the art academy, I was raised as an activist. I was taught to design things with a purpose, such as finding your voice, stand up for your rights and stand up for who you are.
So, when me and my partner were planning our trip to Lesvos, I was thinking about how I could use my skills to help refugees on the island. Often, we would discuss about how cool it would be to create a magazine with design and stories made by asylum seekers, because it is so much needed. News about the situation here barely makes the headlines anymore, and the situation here is still very bad. Oddly enough, I am happy when I see a story on the internet about the refugee crisis in Lesvos, because it's such an important topic to talk about.
When I found Where Borders Meet I thought, "Yes, this is it!". For me, giving a voice to refugees is one of the most important things you can do here, a long with other emergency help, like for example medical care which my partner is doing in One Happy Family as well.
How was your experience hosting a weekly workshop?
Before starting, me and Rachell sat down to brainstorm how I could be useful in the organisation, and we came to the conclusion that graphic designing workshops would be a great skill for the students to learn.
In the beginning, it was very interesting to experience so many cultures work together. Everyone has their own unique style. Us from the west have our own 'western style', but many of the student's have a completely different way of designing. It was nice to compare our ideas and learn from one another.
We were asked to create the poster for the 'African Culture Day'. This poster was challenging and fun to create. It was great to see how challenged and motivated the students were. They created such a beautiful and professional poster. Everyone loves that poster!
Why is graphic designing an important skill for refugees to learn?
Graphic designing is a free profession, - anyone can be a graphic designer! I think that it's promising for anyone who is passionate and dedicated. That's why it's a great way for refugees to learn it and potentially get a freelance job by creating posters for organisations or individuals. People use graphic design for a lot of things, - not only for promotions, also basic instructions for example. I'm sure that if they had the tools needed, they would be creating amazing things for different purposes on the island.