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New exhibition showcases creativity of refugees

The Welcome Dress created by women supported by Leicester City of Sanctuary

A STUNNING dress that embodies ideas of friendship and welcome is the focal point of a new exhibition at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery.

The dress has been crafted by women refugees and asylum seekers, who are building new lives in Leicester with the help of a local charity.

Made up of individual panels that the women have sewn, the ‘Welcome Dress’ features symbols and motifs that represent their home countries, as well as concepts such as peace, hope and friendship.

Included in the design are birds and flowers from Kurdistan, elephants from Zimbabwe, the sun, the lion and the sword from Iran – signifying the power of light over darkness – and a peacock and a pomegranate from Afghanistan.

Britain is represented too, with a tree – as a symbol of shelter – and a hand, as a sign of a warm welcome.

Members of the women’s textile group who created the dress meet each week at Leicester City of Sanctuary – a local charity that helps refugees to rebuild their lives.

Maggie Edgington, interim operations lead at Leicester City of Sanctuary, said: “Our volunteers and participants have worked hard on the Welcome Dress and the other items on display and we are delighted to be able to showcase our work at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery this summer.”

The Welcome Dress forms the centrepiece of an exhibition called Everyone Welcome, which opens at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery tomorrow (Friday 14 June) and continues until 31 October.

More information is available at