“Art takes you off from things going on in your life”
Art without borders brings together a selection of artworks created by members of the Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) 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, in the Gerald Moore Gallery’s First Floor Exhibition Space from 20 – 25 February 2023 represents 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 the adults and children can connect with their own strength and resilience. The art@home group embodies AFRIL’s values in the way the charity supports people who have experienced forced migration.
In the words of one of the artists: “Art takes you off from things going on in your life. We are able to make anything and feel part of a big group, valued. Any time there is support, even those who don't know how to draw.”
Conceived of as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a way of connecting families during periods of lockdown, art@home meets online every 2 weeks and has evolved into a core of 10 regular adults and children. Since restrictions eased, the group has done trips to view exhibitions and in summer 2022 members had their responses to art recorded and featured in the eframed: The Woman in the Window exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
This exhibition is a collaboration between the Gerald Moore Gallery and AFRIL. We are very happy to support AFRIL’s efforts.
Art Without Borders Exhibition runs from 20 – 25 February 2023 in the First Floor Exhibition Space, Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham College, Mottingham Lane, SE9 4RU London.
The private view will be held on Friday 24 February 2023 from 4 – 8pm.
The exhibition is open to the public on Saturday 25 February 2023 10am to 4pm or by appointment for other days.
Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL) is a small local charity providing much needed support and services to refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants. Projects include Advice and Advocacy, Foodbank and wellbeing activities, a supplementary school, and an immigration partnership. AFRIL takes an empowerment approach so that people who have experienced forced migration can rebuild their lives and thrive in the heart of our community.