Hamilton House, Bristol
Borderlands, a Bristol-based refugee charity, presents the Rise Exhibition, highlighting the connections and solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK and the local community in Bristol. The Exhibition will be held at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft, Bristol from 3 to 8 March 2017 and will feature artwork by refugees and asylum seekers from Bristol as well as portraits drawn by local artist Hannah Kirmes-Daly. The Exhibition will be launched at 6pm on Friday 3 March with speeches from Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Borderlands artists.
Rise Exhibition explores the people and personal viewpoints behind the statistics and headlines. Rather than focusing on the trauma or negative experiences, the artwork celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, moving away from the stigma often attached to the labels of asylum seeker and refugee. The exhibition also celebrates the contribution that people from all of the world bring to our local communities, and the connections between the wide ranges of cultures that make up Bristol’s diverse community. This exhibition looks at connection between past memories and future hopes, and highlights the individual perspectives on the experience of migration.
Artwork for the exhibition has been prepared during the twice weekly Drop-in sessions at Borderlands in Easton, where over 100 men and women from all over the world benefit from English and Maths classes and advice, support and hot meals. Refugees and asylum seekers have participated in drawing and painting workshops with Hannah Kirmes-Daly, street photography with Joyce Nicholls and audio commentary with sound recordist Jazlyn Pinckney.
The process of producing the Rise Exhibition has involved exploring personal expression and building relationships between Borderlands members, volunteers and artists. This has been a two-way process. The street photography workshop asked Borderlands members to explore their first impressions of Bristol in their local communities. Various reflections emerged such as the difference in how animals are treated from pigeons to dogs, the confusion of traffic, the fear of becoming homeless, and the surprise at seeing blue hair. The images present views of a place both intimidating and full of exciting new opportunities. The audio recordings amplify the voices of Borderlands members and invite you to see Bristol through new eyes.
The Exhibition is part of Borderlands Mentoring Project and will celebrate the life changing work of the partnering project which has been running since April 2016. The Mentoring Project, which is supported by the People’s Projects and Big Lottery funding, partners refugees and asylum seekers with local volunteers to provide support with orientation, English language and integration in the community. The project has so far trained and 90 volunteer mentors to date who have forged strong one-to-one relationships with Bristol based refugees and asylum seekers. A talk on the Mentoring Project forms part of the programme of events.
More information is available at http://www.hamiltonhouse.org/event/rise and http://borderlands.uk.com/blog