Daniele wins Refugee Week poster award with message of hope

Jul 10, 2024


TAFE SA student Daniele Affortunato has won the tertiary category of the SA Refugee Week Youth Poster Awards Exhibition with a heartfelt entry entitled ‘We Are Human’.

Daniele, who is studying the Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design at the Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts), hopes his design which depicts small white boats in rough seas will help to highlight the struggle experienced by refugees.

The annual poster competition, which is run by the Australian Migrant Resource Centre to coincide with World Refugee Day and SA Refugee Week in June, is open to students at primary, second and tertiary level.

Entrants are asked to produce a poster that celebrates the themes surrounding the United Nations International Refugee Convention such as multiculturalism, human rights, cultural diversity, and anti-racism.

Daniele says he wanted to reference the often-perilous journey that refugees embark on to improve their lives and a key element of his design are paper boats, made from visa grant letters, on an “ocean of hardship”.

“Boats are often associated with refugees in a negative way with slogans like ‘stop the boats’ but I think the boat can be a symbol of hope, too, and so I’ve used the visa letters to represent a new journey,” he says.

“It takes a lot of courage to leave your country and I want people to realise it’s not an easy thing to do.

“I’m an immigrant so I can empathise with some aspects of their experience such as moving to a country where everything is different.

“Refugees are leaving everything behind, often to escape war and persecution, and I wanted to represent their struggle in my design.”

Daniele migrated from Italy with his family nearly 10 years ago while still at school. He studied performing arts and creative writing at university, graduating in 2020, and spent time in New Zealand where he also studied creative marketing and discovered a passion for design.

He returned to Adelaide and enrolled in TAFE SA’s graphic design program which, he says, provides a focus on practical skills and the chance to gain industry experience.

“We’re given a brief and our tutors act like clients, so you go through a similar process to freelancing,” he says.

As the winner of the tertiary category of the SA Refugee Week Youth Poster Awards Exhibition, Daniele received a Certificate of Merit and $500. Designs by fellow students Emilie Flavel and Hayley Cook were shortlisted.

Winners and finalists are included in Our Home: SA Refugee Week Youth Poster Awards Exhibition at the Children’s Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, until 21 July. 

PHOTO: Daniele is pictured with the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Zoe Bettison, at the launch of the exhibition.