Pete Fowler Tackles Europe's Refugee Crisis in Comic Form
Art has the ability to cut to the center of an issue that is difficult to discuss. Visual communication can say things directly to the heart of the viewer in the way that news reports and articles cannot. A direct emotional line from one human to another speaks to these questions with immediacy and passion, begging response that could ultimately contribute to the betterment of global problems. When Pete Fowler was invited to be a part of Off Life's ongoing weekly YELLOW comic series, he had the opportunity draw upon any number of current events, but decided to focus on Europe’s current situation with their incredible influx of refugees. “My work rarely touches on real world events and situations,” Pete told Off Life. “Although I have a very keen interest in what’s going on, I tend to draw mostly from my imagination. But recently I’ve been looking for some way to respond, as a human, to what’s going on around us. You can’t get away from the mess that’s being made.” Pete saw an opportunity to do his part, to put it in a visual context that could inspire others to at least pay attention, maybe even get involved.
It’s no question that the refugee situation in Europe is at a crisis and ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away. Closed borders, riots, and overly aggressive policing was particularly affecting to Pete as he watched it escalate and boil over. The tension keeping the disaster from being solved is between concerned governments, hesitant populations, and split constituencies. Obviously it wasn’t happening in his literal backyard, but with the immediacy that social media and the news cycle offers, it feels like it is. “It’s with this in mind that I approached this illustration,” Pete explains. “With a purely human and emotional take on our fellow human’s situations and struggles, I wanted to portray the situation, perhaps sitting to one side of the fence a little, I must admit.” The emotions in the piece are clearly evident.
The title for his piece is a direct line to Pete’s personal experience of witnessing the global humanitarian struggle. “My initial thoughts when watching the story unfold via Twitter and news sites was ‘this shouldn’t be happening’. I don’t think I can really say more than that to be honest, so let’s call this piece: This Shouldn’t Be Happening.” Sometimes art has the power to change the way we think about issues that are as important as this one. Perhaps this piece can help shift the way you see the world.
Check out Pete Fowler's newly updated portfolio here.