World renowned artist Banksy has teamed up with Love Welcomes to commission women living in refugee camps to hand sew mats using life vests found on Lesvos beaches. The mats have the word ‘welcome’ woven into them using the bright orange material.
The mat has been launched today in Banksy’s new show called Gross Domestic Product in Croydon, London - and it is already hitting the news headlines.
Love Welcomes Co-founder Abi Hewitt said: “In creating this new Welcome Mat, Banksy has helped refugees to find self worth, dignity and hope. Living in a refugee camp shouldn’t stop your dreams, this is keeping hope alive. Each time you buy a Welcome Mat you’re supporting a refugee and their family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war, one stitch at a time.“
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In the show Banksy describes the mat by saying:
“This hard wearing floor covering is hand stitched from life vests abandoned on the beaches of Lesvos by migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Customers are advised that they no longer constitute a valid buoyancy aid - although shockingly they never did - many are cheap fakes sold by people smugglers and don't actually float.
To fabricate the mats Banksy has teamed up with the organisation ‘Love Welcomes’ who work with women in detainment camps in Greece. All proceeds are retained locally to help refugees access to key services.”
Abi continues: “We can’t stop the refugee crisis that has forced millions of men, women and children to flee their homes out of fear for their lives. But we’re not helpless either. We can help some of those who arrive in Greece to weave a better future for themselves and their families, one which is full of hope and purpose. “
The description of Banksy’s new show says “GDP is the homewares brand from Banksy and this is our first and only store. The showroom is for display purposes only and the doors will not open. All sales will be conducted online when the website finally opens. “
The new welcome mats will be for sale online shortly. Sign up to our newsletter here for the latest news.