Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families’ (SCARF) Hand in Hand art exhibition will take place in Wollongong this week in celebration of National Harmony Day.

The Hand in Hand art exhibition will feature over 50 local and international artists from refugee and non-refugee backgrounds.

Celebrating diversity and social inclusion are at the forefront of the exhibition, as the event aims to assist in creating harmony within the community.

Hand in Hand coordinator Sherryl Reddy said in order to create harmony, people need to first create a sense of belonging.

“Celebrating diversity and appreciating diversity is one part of the puzzle, but the other part of it in terms of creating harmony is bringing people from diverse backgrounds together to get to know each other more, and we’re using art as a vehicle for that,” Ms Reddy said.

The exhibition, formerly known as Art4Refugees, was renamed this year to Hand in Hand to encourage artists from refugee backgrounds to share their art with the wider community.

Proceeds from the opening night ticket sales and artwork auction will go toward assisting SCARF with settling refugee children, youth and adults in the Illawarra.

SCARF hopes the art exhibition will raise $15,000 dollars to assist with the operating of its programs. Such programs focus on social inclusion, education and employment readiness.

Volunteer, Nikki Main discovered SCARF last year after donating her artwork to the event, and now volunteers her time to the organisation.

“I want to welcome refugees to Wollongong and do my bit for people who are settling here, especially in times like these where we’re aware of sentiment that is really negative,” Ms Main said.

SCARF will also undertake other activities throughout the week to promote mutual understanding between the communities.

A family day will be held on Sunday, 24 March, for volunteers and families from refugee and non-refugee backgrounds to unite through arts and craft activities.

It will give community members the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures, and hear refugee stories.

The Hand in Hand art exhibition will run until the 24 March at the Project Contemporary Art Space in Wollongong.