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Giant dolls' house created by Syrian refugees goes on display in Bethnal Green

PUBLISHED: 14:00 19 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:41 19 June 2019

Haneen and Hala, both 11, with their room. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

Haneen and Hala, both 11, with their room. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

Archant

A dolls house featuring rooms made by Syrian refugees living in a camp in Jordan is on display in Bethnal Green.

Raja with the room she created. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsours. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsourRaja with the room she created. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsours. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

The 'Giant Dolls' House' at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Cambridge Heath Road, holds more than 100 rooms which each tell the personal story of each individual involved with the project.

The house is the result of workshops designed by architect Catja de Haas in conjunction with Oxfam, in the UK and Za'atari refugee camp.

The rooms includes a garden left behind in Syria, the memory of a traumatic experience and what a dream home would look like.

In addition to the refugees, rooms by other people such as a British schoolchild and a charity shop volunteer are also included.

Suha with the room she created. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsourSuha with the room she created. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

The display, in collaboration with Oxfam's Stand As One campaign, marks Refugee Week.

The campaign aims to make sure the government provides help to refugees to keep their families together, escape poverty and rebuild their lives in safety.

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Catja de Haas said: "People have miniaturised their possessions and wishes for millennia. I am interested in the capacity of dolls' houses to delight people as well as convey important messages.

The collaborative arts project explores themes of boundaries, home and integration for refugees. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsourThe collaborative arts project explores themes of boundaries, home and integration for refugees. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

"They can tell a story, start a conversation and highlight injustice.

"The diversity of the rooms on display shows how everyone is equally individual, but by linking them one can visualise the creation of a community.

"Different people who normally do not interact, end up being part of the dolls' house community. It shows that in order to be part of a community one needs to have a home in it."

Ruth Tanner, head of humanitarian campaigns at Oxfam, added: "I hope visitors will enjoy exploring the places, hopes and memories brought to life in these rooms. Refugees, whose lives have been shattered by war, desperately want a sense of belonging.

The rooms created by refugees include a garden left behind in Syria. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsourThe rooms created by refugees include a garden left behind in Syria. Pic: Oxfam/Nesma AlNsour

"It is a basic desire that unites all humans, as this thought-provoking installation reminds us."

The installation will be on display until Sunday and entry is free.

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