by Jeffrey Canton
A new refugee from war torn Somalia, Hassan finds his new English home dull and grey and colourless. He has no friends and doesn't understand English. Shown some paints, he begins to paint a picture of his home, starting initially with bright and vibrant colours that remind him of the life he left behind. But after painting his picture, he adds red and orange flames, darkens the vivid blue sky to a murky purple and smudges out figures. He doesn't want to show it to his mother, afraid that it will make her sad. Asked the following day to explain his picture by a translator, Hassan tells his painful story, simply articulating the devastating way that war has changed his life and that of his family. He's able then to paint another picture for his mother without people, full of the sunny colours that he associates with his previous life, and that brightens up the new place that he and his family have begun to call home.