The artists featured in this exhibition come from southern Sudanese communities violently displaced during the early stages of the second Sudanese Civil War (1983-1995). At this time, many of the artists were young children. They fled to Ethiopia, escaping conscription by the north Sudanese army, slavery, and death. Sadly, continuing conflict in the early 1990's forced many to flee yet again. In their search for relief and safety, many died of starvation, exposure, or attacks by wild animals. The survivors, known to the world as the "Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan," found relative safety in Kenya, Uganda and other neighboring countries.

Reacting to the forced displacement of his people, the artist and former refugee Atem Aleu, currently based in Utah, returned to the Kakuma refugee camp armed with art materials. He provided other refugees with supplies and lessons, allowing them to capture their memories of home and to express their hopes for the future.

A peace agreement signed in January 2005, allowed for a formal cessation of hostilities against the southern Sudanese. Some former refugees and internally displaced persons are now returning to their homes, seeking to rebuild their war-ravaged communities. Despite this, great concerns about health, security, and economic stability remain major regional issues. Meanwhile, millions remain at risk in Sudan's western region of Darfur, due to an ongoing genocide campaign.

Approximately 3,500 young south Sudanese refugees arrived in the United States in 2000 and 2001. Of these, approximately 170 are now living in the greater Boston area.

This website has been developed by the Museums and Public Memory (Anth 159a) class taught by Professor Mark Auslander at Brandeis University. Images have been reproduced with the permission of the African Refugee Artists Club.