Adelaide artist and activist Peter Drew‘s legendary “Real Australians Say Welcome” campaign is yet to hit its two week mark around the nation—its scope, appeal and support in its simplicity, however, has been overwhelmingly positive and absolutely staggering in scale. At a time when the rhetoric enveloping the asylum seeker debate can easily cause any soul to sink, Drew’s campaign—an alarmingly effective eight syllables—has most definitely struck a chord in Australia. Passing Drew’s posters in the street, seeing them pop up on Instagram and finding myself in conversation about asylum seeker issues in Australia because of Drew’s campaign itself has been refreshing – to say the least.
While Drew’s posters are bold and daring by their very nature, seeing interpretations of that phrase crop up has been yet another positive offshoot of the campaign – a surge in which has come this weekend, after one of Australia’s most iconic design blogs, The Design Files, put a call out for local artists to interpret Drew’s message in their own way, spreading the word even further around the country.
Pedestrian spoke with The Design Files’ fabulous leading lady Lucy Feagins today, who tells us the call out was spontaneous, but one which has seen a surge of over 1000 responses on social media from local talent. Lucy says the campaign particularly resonated for her in the simplicity of its “positive, inclusive and welcoming message”, but also says it’s one that has perhaps been overdue:

“Personally, I’ve been feeling really ashamed of our current government and their lack of compassion for asylum seekers, and just the way certain religions and cultures are marginalised and kind of demonised in general. It’s feeding a certain mindset, and it’s just really sad and limiting.”

While showcasing your impressive brushstrokes is effective in getting the campaign’s goal out there, we also asked Lucy what “real Australians” can do in support of the asylum seeker debate across Australia. Staying informed and having a look into the fundraising, volunteering and campaigns run by the Australian Asylum Seeker Resource Centre are both up there; Lucy also says, 

“Never feel like it’s ‘someone else’s job’ to vocalise your beliefs. If you don’t agree with how you are represented by our current government, you are entitled to say so, and you should.”

Fighting the good fight. Observe some of the stunning support from artists such as Miranda Koczek, Kirra Jamison and Julie White through their work below.

@cookrepublic making me hungry with her culinary response to #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ! Love it…! ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Had to share this one, contributed by @hellojuliewhite who just happens to be married to @peterdrewarts who started this whole #realaustralianssaywelcome Movement ! A simple, powerful gesture that has inspired so many of us. RESPECT to you both, and Thankyou ! ??????

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

One of our fave Melbourne design teams @bonnieandneil just chimed in with their response to #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ?????? love your work guys! ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Awesome graphic response from @yournumbersup ?????? #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts still going strong!!

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Loving this beautiful nature-inspired design from @little_nicki_ – thanks for joining in! #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Loving this one inspired by Native flora and fauna from @andreasmith_illustration ???? #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts beautiful!

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Loving this one from @businesschicks – channeling a little @kendonegallery I think? (Speaking of which, we’d LOVE a contribution from the amazing Ken Done, how awesome would that be!?) #RealAustraliansSayWelcome by @peterdrewarts ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Another beautiful design by @laurablythman for #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

SO MUCH AWESOME @nathannankervis ?? #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ???

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Cannot keep up with the awesomeness you guyssss!!! Loving this one from @houseofbec ?? #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Our good mate @modernister aka Tim ‘Rosso’ Ross is on board ?? good on ya Timmmm! #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Awww one more of our fabourite local artists joins the chorus! Thankyou @kirrajamison for your take on #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Awesome to see one of our fave local artists get involved!! Thankyou @mirandaskoczek for joining the chorus ! #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts ??

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

Loving this cheerful response from @patti.andrews ! ?????? #realaustralianssaywelcome by @peterdrewarts – who else is in?!

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on

A photo posted by Lucy (@thedesignfiles) on


Lead image via Instagram.