TWO artists have walked from Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in Strathaven to the Home Office building in Govan as a response to the 70th year of the UN Refugee Convention.

Paria Goodarzi and Frank Llinas Casas used the 23 mile walking performance to question whether the anniversary is a time for celebration or protest, against a backdrop of concern about the UK's meeting of obligations under the convention.

Paria and Frank, who form the art collective Distanced Assemblage, wore engraved mirrors on their backs as they walked to represent themes such as identity and underrepresentation of refugees.

Frank, who arrived in the UK from Venezuela six years ago, and Paria, who came from Iran to the UK in 2012, met while studying at the Glasgow School of Art and formed Distanced Assemblage as a way of exploring and promoting migrant art in the UK through social engagement work and public art projects.

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When Frank and Paria responded to a call for commissions from the Scottish Refugee Council, Paria was collating her travel documents and papers from the Home Office during her five year British citizenship application.

She said: "I was doing some work with the ideas of democracy and freedom and we were talking about how I live in a democratic country but I don't have freedom.

"We live in a democracy but with the process of migration we struggle, we don't have freedom at all, we are under a lot of pressure and the idea started from there, to question this anniversary.

"This walk could be something monumental for the future in how people will respond to this question, which is should be celebrate this anniversary or question it?"

The UN Refugee Convention's stated aim is to guarantee freedom of movement but concerns have been raised about the current UK government's hostile immigration policies and whether those meet the terms of the Convention.

As the artists were pitching their work, named AMBER, to the Scottish Refugee Council, the situation in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, was unfolding.

Local people gathered to prevent the removal of two Indian nationals by the Home Office, a protest that generated international headlines.

Frank said: "The system is structured in a way that there are so many flaws that go against what we want to be as a society and go against the UN Convention.

"Right when we proposed this work Kenmure Street was happening, Paria was making work about her own story, I was making work about my mum joining me in the UK.

"My mum is also escaping the situation in Venezuela and had to pay so much money for having her biometrics taken because the Home Office took the decision to outsource that system.

"We had to travel to Newcastle because the centre here had no appointments until after June 31 deadline - so many things are happening that are invisible.

"I think it is time to be aware of this and celebrate that awareness with an act of protest and a powerful statement and have this question be asked repeatedly because if we don't we will be dormant as a society.

"These things will be happening under our noses."

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Paria added: "The guys who were about to be removed were living in the UK for 10 years, so how is it that someone can be living here for 10 years and be in that stage of the asylum process for that long, how does that work?

"If you do not want the person here then you need to give them a decision. Ten years is like a lifetime."

Last week Frank and Paria set off from Dungavel, near Strathaven, at 6am and walked together for the first part of their journey.

The artists said that, as they waited outside the detention centre for the performance piece to begin, guards came out to move them on.

When they were preparing ahead of the piece, Paria and her husband were both confronted outside Dungavel, she says, by a guard with a dog.

Paria said: "I have been in Dungavel and a lot of my friends when they came here at the start of the process of settling in the UK experienced this place.

"I always wonder why these people who moved here to the promised land, they are not criminal so what is the reason to put them in this place?"

For both artists, the walk was an emotional experience and a chance for reflection - literal reflection of the landscape in their mirrors and a thoughtful reflection on the experience of movement and migration.

Frank said: "Many metaphors became apparent that we didn't even think of when we were developing the work, such as being cold, because it was colder than we thought it was going to be and that reminded us of how unprepared we were when we moved to this country for the weather.

"You want to travel as light as possible because we didn't know how long a journey we had ahead of us.

"So the work was a metaphor of many things and it was a constant reflection, a reflection both of what was happening around us, the landscape around us, but also of all these ideas and the questions around these ideas."

After around nine hours of walking, Frank and Paria stopped in Queen's Park, on Glasgow's South Side, to tie white ribbons to a tree planted by Scottish Refugee Council before continuing to Brand Street.

The day-long walk gave them time to think about their central question of celebration and protest with Paria saying it is time now for both.

She said: "It is a time to protest, to stand against the power that is controlling people in this way.

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"It is not my fault, it is not Frank's fault to leave our countries.

"With this situation no one has wanted to move and it's not in my hands, it's in the hands of the people in power and we are all just the victims of these decisions and the labels we are given.

"Although Frank had the same issues as I had in my country, he's not a refugee because he's come from South America."

Venezuela has seen the biggest refugee crisis in the history of the Americas, as six million people have fled the country.

Frank added: "but they are not considered worthy of refugee status and that is something that says a lot about who makes the decisions and what that decision relies on.

"It's been 70 years of the UN Refugee Convention and the values and rights that are enshrined in the Convention are still to this day not secure and are subject to debate, that says a lot about what we have achieved and what we have not achieved.

"It is devastating to see places like Dungavel, it is devastating to see that many people who are looking for refuge are in there."

Paria and Frank now want to develop AMBER in order to generate further discussion about the government's attitude to and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

Frank added: "If we can bring this question into people's houses for at least a couple of minutes so they question themselves, that would be success.

"For people to question this and ask, what is my role in all of this?"