By Kerry Tuhill, Action Factory.
Since 2015, we have collaborated on a children’s visual art project as part of Refugee Week. Initially it was run by Mukhtar Ghebirrebbi with colleagues and volunteers from The Children’s Society Family Safe Project in Blackburn. Volunteer artist Urmila Chowdhury ran the sessions. We helped access extra funding, find, promote and liaise with a venue for the final exhibition. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery were fantastic and put up temporary display boards each year in their Victorian Gallery. It was so well-received that the project has continued each year.
In 2017, Action Factory took on the art project, with Urmila as the artist. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery offered their Community Exhibition space and a contribution to installation costs. We are also grateful to Platforma for extra funding towards framing, installation and materials. Urmila and the young people rose to the challenge. The final pieces were of high quality and parents and young people expressed huge enjoyment and appreciation. They named the project ‘My New Light’.
As part of the week itself, we ran a free open workshop for people of all ages, making small colourful hangings, in connection with South Asian traditions and India’s Gateway.
Thank you to:
The young people and their parents; Urmila Chowdhury for planning and leading the art sessions; Tinta and Mirza for supporting the weekly sessions; Nudrat Mughal for extra support and advice; Nicole Ferris, Emma Johnson and Jamilia Aziz for help with installation/ taking down work; Stephanie Seville, Stephen Irwin, Rebecca Johnson and all at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery; Tom Green, Emily Churchill Zaraa and all at Refugee Week and Platforma; The Refugee Week Blackburn with Darwen planning group.