How This New Artwork Proves That There's No Difference Between You And A Refugee

"Though it may have fallen off of the front covers, it still exists and is still important."

Giving blood is usually a means of providing aid to those in need, but a new piece of art uses this vital fluid to show that no matter what, we all bleed red.

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"Odyssey," a new artwork from British contemporary artist Marc Quinn, was recently announced and will make its debut at the main branch of the New York Public Library in fall 2019 before setting off on a world tour. The setup is simple: the work of art will feature two identical, metric-ton cubes of frozen human blood located in a pavilion designed by British architect Norman Foster with the Norman Foster Foundation. One cube will be filled with 2,500 donations from resettled refugees and the other cube will be filled with 2,500 donations from non-refugees.

Not only is this meant to raise awareness for the issue that affects millions of people worldwide, it is being put forth in the hopes of raising $30 million to benefit refugee-supporting organizations and programs, and to show — according to Quinn — that "my blood and your blood is the same; under the skin we're all the same."

The rendering of "Odyssey," a public artwork raising awareness about the refugee crisis, from artist Marc Quinn.
Courtesy of Marc Quinn

"It is a very important reminder that the global refugee crisis is still happening. Though it may have fallen off of the front covers, it still exists and is still important," Hassan Akkad, a Syrian filmmaker who is donating blood for the artwork, told A Plus via email. "I am a refugee myself, my friends are refugees, and I have made two documentaries about the refugee crisis. It is a topic that is very close to my heart."

Akkad said that seeing "Odyssey" will break down barriers and show that "my problems are your problems and your problems are my problems," partly because it is so focused on our shared humanity. That said, he noted that dialogue is the best way to overcome these metaphorical barriers and bring people together, especially since things like fake news and trolling are so rampant in society. Plus, he thinks the name of the project is one that sums things up nicely.

"'Odyssey' is the perfect name for the installation because we all go on an odyssey at some point in our lives, whether we are forced to or choose to," Akkad explained. "Some have the privilege of flying anywhere in the world while others are forced to flee their homeland to seek peace and shelter in other lands. This 'Odyssey' will honor those who didn't have the choice to journey."

Half of the money raised by "Odyssey" will go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the remaining half will be donated to refugee organizations and programs chosen by an advisory board and trustees of Quinn's charity, Human Love.

"I want people to leave thinking that in this day and age anyone could become a refugee," Akkad concluded. "It is important that we look after one another and we stand together in the face of hatred. We all need to choose love."

For more information on "Odyssey," you can visit this website, or follow along via social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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