A flag that has seen contributions from people across the world delighted Swindon art lovers last night.

The reimagined Union Jack was being exhibited at Artsite’s Number Nine Gallery in Theatre Square for Refugee Week.

Internationally-acclaimed Israeli-British artist Gil Mualem Doron first created the flag in the run up to the 2015 General Election. Treating the Union Jack as a blank canvas, he wove in materials inspired from British communities hailing from all around the world – with the project aimed at celebrating Britain’s diversity.

“This flag is ever changing,” Gil said. “Every time I show it somebody comes to me and says: ‘the textiles from own country isn’t here – I’m adding it’.

Internationally renowned artist Gil told the Artsite audience that he had previously launched a petition to replace the ‘official’ Union Jack with his alternative version. “People were saying this flag is a lot less terrifying.”

However, the artist – whose pro-Palestinian views have seen him come under pressure in his home-country of Israel – has also faced criticism.

“My campaign to change the flag was not always welcomed. Some said: ‘we like the Union Jack, it represents us.’”

Others told Gil that the Union Jack design was still too steeped in centuries of difficult history.

“I told them: you can take the symbols of colonialism down, but you can’t take the results of it. We are still living with the results.”

Today, Gil will visit three Swindon schools to display the flag and to help pupils at Lydiard Park Academy, Drove Primary School and Robert Le Kyng Primary School create their own flags.

The exhibition and schools workshops have been organised by Swindon City of Sanctuary and the Harbour Project as part of the celebrations for Refugee Week.

The organisations support refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Swindon from as far afield as Afghanistan, Eritrea and Nigeria.

At last night’s event, which also saw art by refugees supported by the Harbour Project displayed on the walls, punters were full of praise for the contribution of refugees in the town.

Coun Garry Perkins said: “I think it’s fantastic. The fact they were born in Libya or Liverpool doesn’t matter.

“The Harbour Project does such a fantastic job. It’s one of the best kept secrets in Swindon.”

Gallery-goer Caroline Davis Khan said: “I think it’s brilliant what’s been organised. It’s a good opportunity to showcase what Swindon City of Sanctuary does.”

Rachel Pryor, who volunteers with the Harbour Project, said: “It’s so interesting meeting people from other countries and finding out more. You realise that we’ve got so much in common.”

Refugee Week is being marked with events until Sunday 25 June. To find out more, visit: www.swindon.cityofsanctuary.org/events/refugee-week.