AFRIL is proud to present: Art without borders: The Film
The film details the journey of our art@home group inaugural public art exhibition at the Gerald Moore Gallery at Eltham College in February 2023. You will hear from the artists themselves, both parents and children, about the impact of this project and how they feel when they are expressing themselves through art. You will see footage from the public exhibition and reflections from the attendees. Thank you for the brilliant Charlie Bird for making this video. Enjoy!
About the exhibition: 20th-25th February 2023
Art without borders brought together a selection of artworks created by members of the Action for Refugees in Lewisham food bank at their inspiring art@home group over the past 3 years.
The artists are refugee and migrant women and their children. The exhibition represented the group: coming together from diverse places, their reflections and experiences seeking sanctuary in London, and the shared ethos of freedom of expression through making art from the imagination.
Life is hard for families fleeing persecution and war. The UK is not always a welcoming place, and many art@home members and their children have experienced homelessness, destitution, marginalisation and discrimination. The group is an antidote to this: a regular shared space of welcome, community, emotional kindness and growth. When people feel welcomed, valued and emotionally safe, there are no borders to the possibilities for their art. Through creativity we have seen adults and children connect with their own strength and resilience. The Art@home group embodies AFRIL’s values in the way we support people who have experienced forced migration.
As Elaine Homer, the Art Project Leader and curator of this exhibition explains:
“During the pandemic people were able to express their frustrations and struggles through art. AFRIL’s Allotment of Refuge inspired new growth, hope, and this is seen in participants’ joyous art works on the theme of nature, health and growth. The group expressed their feelings of mutual support and care for each other through their art and often celebrated women. Members have valued the regular support and continuity of the group.
Group members were encouraged to enjoy and explore art works by professional artists exploring them in relation to their own experiences. Art works stimulated art making in tangential ways. Members were encouraged to experiment and express themselves, their values, culture and what is important to them through art making. The group were not taught and there were no expectations about outcomes. Our group is not an art class. Themes would be introduced, often with a wellbeing focus or that were responsive to current events, encouraged participation in wider cultural life or celebrated the interests and backgrounds of group members. Art works and exhibitions were selected in response to the cultural diversity of our group.”
Coming together as a group to view and make art has been a respite for some group members. For others the group has offered quality time to connect meaningfully within their own family and with other group members through art. We welcomed baby Fatima into the group and have watched her grow into a toddler who walked confidently into Gerald Moore Gallery and picked up a felt pen and began drawing next to her mother.”
We would like to thank the Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham College, for this wonderful opportunity and your continued support.