Drawing Our Stories
Exhibition of Art and Writing from Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants
Curated by Jane Ray and Sita Brahmachari ( Artist and Writer in Residence at Islington Centre)
6 - 20 June
Amnesty International UK, Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
Jane Ray and Sita Brahmachari run the Art, Conversation and Writing Class at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants every Tuesday. This exhibition shows a small sample of stories told and shared over one year of working with the class.
Basing each session around a theme Jane suggests, a variety of visual stimuli using a range of methods, techniques and materials. For example images from nature were inspired by bowls of colourful fruit, and an armful of flowers from the garden. For ‘Street’ images we went outside with clipboards and pastels on the first sunny day of spring, and drew what we saw. The portraits emerged from a term long exploration around the theme of mind, body and spirit. The River began with a roll of lining paper laid across the tables; painting rivers flowing through the hearts and minds of people in the room.
Using a variety of media we make images around these themes. As the class progresses Sita engages in conversations around cultural connections to what is being drawn or painted.
In this way, thoughts, ideas and memories emerge, connections are made; jokes exchanged and hopes for the future expressed. The sessions, assisted by language teachers Chris and Anya, are often full of laughter and relaxation as well as deep contemplation.
Sita gathers the exchanges and, in the quiet of her own room, weaves them into poems, some communal, some more personal; all dedicated to reflecting the voices and experiences of refugees and migrants attending the class.
At the following week’s session, we display the artwork and select a poem to speak communally before moving on to a new theme.
In their countries of origin Neda K Fard (Artist) and Anwar Elsemani (Journalist and Photographer) are well established. Their extraordinary work is exhibited for the first time in London.
Jane Ray (Illustrator) Artist in Residence
Sita Brahmachari (Author) Writer in Residence