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Over 2,000 flags have been planted in Cornwall to form a giant heart pop up by two Cornish artists who wanted to show support for refugees in Syria. The giant heart was planted in a secret installation on Wednesday 21 August 2013 close to the Jamaica Inn in Bolventor, Launceston in Cornwall by Caroline Cleave and Franca Westaway to raise awareness and money for Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal. The installation has already been partially sponsored by businesses and donors but Franca and Caroline are hoping that more donations will be made once people see the giant heart, which is visible for miles around the installation. The best vantage point is from the westbound A30 in Cornwall by the Jamaica Inn in Bolventor, Launceston, PL15 7TS.
The artists have taken months to plan the installation and have made over 2,000 red fabric flags by hand. They planted the installation on Wednesday 21 August starting at 5.30a.m. and finishing at around 9a.m. with the help of a small team of volunteers. The installation took weeks to pull together with the help of local farmers who have donated their land for the installation this week. The artists, who both work full-time and have children, have worked on the installation in their spare time as they wanted to send a message of love and compassion to refugees in Syria. Caroline and Franca are appealing for people the flags and the installation to raise money for Oxfam's work in Syria, where the charity is providing water and sanitation facilities to thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
The art installation is called Have a Heart for Syria to support Oxfam’s Love Syria campaign and aims to raise a minimum of £2,000 but Caroline and Franca are hoping for more donations to come in once motorists and members of the public see the giant heart installation.
To sponsor the heart installation in Cornwall please go to http://www.justgiving.com/heart-for-syria
Caroline Cleave hopes the art installation will travel across the UK and she and Franca already have plans to install the art at another secret location in Devon. They hope the heart will travel across the UK and all the way to the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. She said:
One little red flag can't achieve much on its own, but collectively they can make something amazing and beautiful. All of the hard work and months spent planning the installation have proved worthwhile because now we can see the final installation it does look absolutely beautiful and we hope people will be inspired to sponsor and donate to the appeal. We wouldn't have been able to pull it off if we hadn't got fantastic support from local businesses and donors in Cornwall who've donated their money, resources and time. Everyone who we have spoken to about the project have been inspired to get involved.
Caroline and Franca were inspired to do something for Syrian refugees by the escalating crisis, which has seen over 1.8 million people fleeing their homes to seek refuge in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon. They were moved by stories of people suffering, families fearing for their personal safety and the lack of basic facilities for people who have had to start over from scratch to build their lives after leaving many of their relatives and friends behind or seen loved ones killed in the civil war.
I saw the Syrian equivalent of Wadebridge in Cornwall on the television and its people fleeing for their lives. It really brought it home to me that evening. It was like the whole population of Wadebridge (7,000 people) having to leave their homes, their shops, their businesses and go to another country with only what they could pick up and carry – and through no fault of their own. It made me wonder how we would cope in that situation. How would we feel? From then on it was uncanny how every time I switched on the radio or the television there would be another heartbreaking report from Syria.
Syria is a country that has turned in on itself and you just can't imagine that. There was one story about a family who had to leave the orchard that was their home and livelihood. It would be like coming back to Port Isaac one day to find our house and the business all gone.
Franca, an art teacher at Holsworthy Community College and from Bude said: The whole point of the heart in the first place was to touch people and make a difference. We need to counter the violence of war with love and connection and openness.
The heart installation launches Oxfam’s Love Syria campaign in Cornwall. Over 1.8 million people have fled the crisis in Syria and are in need of shelter, food and water. Oxfam is working with refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Jordan and is aiming to reach over 650,000 people in the coming months. The charity is also calling for urgent peace talks world leaders have promised without further delay.