@artrefugeuk_ Art Refuge UK

art and art therapy with people displaced by conflict / persecution / poverty Calais/Paris/London/Bristol UK charity 1114353 est.2006

@artrefugeuk_ photos and videos

1 weeks ago

We took the opportunity to tape the large maps to the gold leafed railings beneath the Albert Memorial; standing back to see what might happen... . . #maps #borders #politics #art #mapping #london #albertmemorial #colonialpast #empire #diversecity #touristsandmaps #looking #viewing #humanrights #socialart #socialaction #socialpractice #temporaryexhibition #publicspace #strongshadows #blueskies #winterday

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1 weeks ago

One of our large maps from our work on the France-UK border at Calais where hundreds of people are stuck at the border attempting to find a route through to the UK to claim asylum . . The maps were taped to the railings outside the French Embassy in Knightsbridge at a cross border action taking place today at all of France’s borders . . in protest against the inhumane treatment of refugees by the French authorities and calls for urgent changes in policy . . Poignant to place this map in London . . #franceukborder #refugees #maps #mapping #border #journeys #seekingrefuge #humanrights #humanbeings #peoplenotwalls #borderpolitics #crossborderinitiative #crossbordercollaboration #peacefulprotest #changeofpolicy

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1 weeks ago

The names of all those who have died at the France-UK border in 2019 . . This list was taped onto the wall outside the French Embassy in London as part of a cross Channel protest today. Taking place both in London led by the group ‘People not Walls’ and at France’s borders - Italy, Spain, UK - the action is asking the French government to show respect towards refugees; to change its policies of intolerance and hostility; and to call for a Parliamentary Commission of Enquiry into human rights abuses committed by French authorities at its borders. . #peoplenotwalls #franceukborder #deathsontheborder #border #humanrights #humanbeings #frenchembassy #refugeedeaths #migrantdeaths #france #refugees

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2 weeks ago

UN/COVERED WORLD . . Tensions on Thursday had all but dissipated in Calais on Friday and services were up and running again. The atmosphere in the large day centre room felt more reflective. People sat at tables in mixed groups and set about looking at their phones or quietly chatting. . . The Community Table was made bigger to accommodate a large number of shorter, experimental projects using stop frame animation, led by artist Majid Adin. We were joined by both young men and volunteers - several using their hands to conceal and reveal objects of their choice. . #map #animation #film #stopframeanimation #stopframe #calais #refugees #artists #arttherapists #socialaction #cooperation #makingtogether #hands #cover #uncover #conceal #reveal @majid_adin_ma @nabarromiriam

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2 weeks ago

UN/COVERED WORLD . . Other short animations were produced in the Refugee day centre, led by artist Majid Adin - a journey across Europe through checkpoints, others about politics. There was delight at the short films amongst those who gathered around to watch, with requests for them to be played back several times. A few older men joined the table to build houses and engage in conversation. . . #map #animation #film #stopframeanimation #stopframe #calais #refugees #borders #bordercrossings #checkpoints #artists #arttherapists #socialaction #cooperation #makingtogether @majid_adin_ma @nabarromiriam

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2 weeks ago

UN/COVERING THE WORLD CALAIS - Nov 28-29, 2019 . With a globe and a series of new large maps covering the World, we set up a stop frame animation studio on The Community Table. Guided by Majid, a rich afternoon of creative activity followed, with one young man - a photographer by profession who’d joined us two weeks earlier - spending several hours with us, absorbed in trying to get to grips with this new creative tool. His World wrapped and unwrapped was playful and performative and took several iterations - with cooperation, timing and working together as essential ingredients. Friends joined to assist with translation. . . #world #globe #global #map #animation #stopframe #stopframeanimation #calais #border #refugees #humanrights #socialaction #psychosocialsupport #artists #arttherapists @majid_adin_ma @nabarromiriam

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3 weeks ago

BLUE November 22nd 2019 Extract 03 . Beside me at the fire is Fessehaye. He has his phone open on google maps, satellite view. He’s located our Calais location, and then he moves the cursor back and forwards across the Channel. “Small small distance” he says. He then flits across the world to Eritrea, to Massawa, the Red Sea port. He locates his house, then opens his photos and in the dark and damp of the Calais night, the smoke from the fire blowing chaotically first westwards then back into our faces, there he is, in a boat on an absurdly blue sea, smiling in the bright sunshine. . Blue. . #calais #border #eritrea #human #map #journey #memory . (Guest post by Alex Holmes - all names have been changed )

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3 weeks ago

CALAIS WHITE November 22nd 2019 . Extract 02 . “Woldu’s shoes are perfectly white. The small encampment where we meet is cloaked by tall poplars shedding their late season blackened leaves. After weeks of persistent rain, there’s water everywhere. Eastwards and spreading ever closer to the camp, a lake has formed. There’s a sense of battlefield, wooden pallets as duckboards snaking across this wasteland swamp. . The half-dozen tents are all raised on pallets. Woldu in his perfect white shoes is balanced on a section of pallet that acts as decking to his tented home. “I clean my shoes everyday” he says. He needs to go to the other Eritrean camp and leads me out of the swamp, past strangely incongruous heaps of farmyard manure, through fences and under the road bridge to a line of sagging tents. Semere is attempting to light a fire but the wood is wet. . By burning white plastic jerry cans and dousing the wood with cooking oil, the fire comes to life and Tesfay starts preparing a meal.” . #calais #humanity #humanrights #border #eritrean . (Guest post by Alex Holmes - all names have been changed )

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3 weeks ago

CALAIS RED CALAIS WHITE CALAIS BLUE November 22nd 2019 EXTRACT 01 . This evening we present extracts from a Guest Post written by our friend and colleague Alex Holmes, long-term volunteer with the Maria Skobtsova Safe House in Calais. . “White on red, the No Entry sign near the stadium. It’s here, on a Sunday morning, that the Eritrean Orthodox Christians meet for prayer. Bound to the post bearing the red and white sign is a wooden cross, and on the cross, a rosary and a small icon of the Theotokos, Mary, the God-bearer, with the Child Jesus. A tarpaulin is laid onto the cold tarmac, shoes are removed, heads bared, and the young men sit listening attentively to the words of the Eritrean deacon. As he speaks, a white minibus parks twenty metres away. A CRS officer winds down his window and films. . More white. The whites of eyes veined red from exhaustion. Tonight the white full moon. Breakfast before Sunday prayers; on the fire, steam rising from a white circle of milk. The Sunday sun bleaching white the prayer shawls of the two deacons.” . #white #red #calais #eritrea #humanity #humanrights #border . (All names have been changed )

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4 weeks ago

NEVER THINK THIS IS NORMAL . The situation in Calais continues to assault the senses. The weather has turned and temperatures are cold. With rain on Friday it was uncomfortable being in the open air for more than a few minutes. These conditions are difficult for people to endure day after day struggling with living outside. . The huge automated Calais dragon of two weeks ago stamped a big footprint onto the collective morale of the organisations, with refugees and volunteers explicitly excluded from the town’s big arts spectacle, and food distributions in the town centre prohibited. The positive counter cultural response is that Secours Catholique is welcoming associations and refugees together this weekend in an alternative festive gathering. . The recent death of the young man in his tent from carbon monoxide poisoning two weeks ago is felt very acutely. Those friends and volunteers who wanted to pay their respects at his burial attended the Calais graveyard at the appointed hour only to find that the burial had been brought forward. . At the Secours Catholique meeting there was a question as to one word that sums up what volunteers and staff think they are doing here. The most striking word was ‘resistance’ - we must resist the idea that this situation is normal and draw attention to the injustices taking place on the border. . . #border #franceukborder #calais #humanrights #humanity #socialjustice #justice #refugees #brexit #bordercontrol #socialaction #psychosocialsupport #respect

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4 weeks ago

The day centre was packed full with at least two hundred people using the space that itself became hot with bodies and dense with the smell of sweat and wet clothes. The atmosphere was generally good natured though there were signs of frayed edges. . We set up the table with map, bricks, projectors and magnifiers and it was busy and engaged throughout the afternoon, with us introducing the idea of science, looking and ways of seeing. . Several men greeted us from the day before. A few bright young individuals expressed their despair at being stuck on this border for the past four years and not knowing how to shift this position. One teenager recognised us from the Jungle camp when he had had no beard and only spoke his mother tongue. On the upside he said that now he speaks nearly four languages learnt ‘on the street’. . One man from the border between Syria and Turkey built a Roman bridge that was close to his home and then placed it on top of Syria the tablecloth map alongside a photo on his mobile phone. He delighted in using the large magnifier to focus in on the bridge and then moved onto an elaborate construction of a larger site, ending by mapping out a brick journey from Syria to Calais. . . #calais #border #map #refugees #unaccompaniedminors #humanrights #stuckontheborder #waysofseeing #perspective #magnifier #shiftinperspective #syria

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4 weeks ago

The ambulance was parked at a distance from its preferred pitch as there were several police vans occupying that space. Close by, a kilometre long trench was being dug in preparation for a new fence. This excavation work made visible the tents that had been hidden in the woods, another space becoming inhospitable. . It was very cold yesterday and instead of taping the large tablecloth map to the van, it doubled up as a wind break, tied to the MdM tent. This contributed to a relatively more hospitable place for the men visiting the doctor to sit, offered homemade cake and hot drinks by a local volunteer. . The first young man to talk to us at the map said it’s all about his attitude - ‘I need to surround myself with other people who are positive and to take this experience as if it were an adventure.’ The magnifiers once again brought brief moments of shared delight, distraction and shifts in perspective. . . . #franceukborder #calais #humanrights #refugees #seekingasylum #inhospitable #hospitable #perspective #waysofseeing #shiftsinperspective #magnifier #largemap #mapping #border #psychosocialsupport #artists #arttherapists #socialaction

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last month

Yesterday was All Saints Day with families in Calais heading to the large graveyards on the edge of town to lay flowers. We too visited the graveyards to pay our respects to those individuals - refugees striving for safety - who have died on the border; marked by rows of graves, some named and others marked simply with a number. . . Later yesterday afternoon we learnt of the tragic death of a young man from Nigeria whose body was found in his tent on the edge of Calais. He died from what is thought to be carbon monoxide poisoning from wood embers, while trying to keep warm on a very cold late Autumn night. . We are deeply disturbed and saddened by the death of this young man and our thoughts are with his family and friends. We stand in solidarity with refugees and organisations in northern France at this time. We also call on all governments for a change to brutal border policies so that these unnecessary deaths cease to become realities. . #franceukborder #refugeedeath #humanrights #calais #seekingasylum #urgent #needforchange #borderpolicies

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last month

This week marks three years on from the closure of the large Calais ‘Jungle’ camp. The colder weather, depleted spaces and abuse by police continue in Calais. The new fences have forced the small, crowded tents right to the edge of the road. One man described how his belongings were taken by the police - important documents, phones and shoes, a crutch thrown into the gutter. . . With the large map taped to the ambulance we wanted to create a space where looking in a different way could happen. . . The introduction of a magnifying glass brought new ways of viewing: young men able to amplify their home country; refract the light; invert the landscape. A step away from the map the fence could be played with; a branch looked at in a new way; a rainbow created by catching the light. This simple device brought fleeting fragments of engagement; shifts in perspective and imagination. . . #map #magnification #optics #perspective #magnifier #vewing #looking #crisissupport #socialaction #artists #arttherapists #resilience #refugees #imagination #franceukborder #calais

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last month

On Friday we were invited to join Medecins du Monde at the Dunkirk camp where conditions are bleak, family groups sleeping together in makeshift tented areas next to a lake, men queuing for food. Various services arrived while we were there - mobile phone charging units, a truck full of blankets. . . We also saw ingenuity in the rain - shelters fashioned from gold emergency blankets, supermarket trolleys used as tables, tea brewed on top in Kurdish teapots. . . Many individuals were however searching for the most basic items - socks, sleeping bags, tents. There were underlying tensions with a sense that things could kick off at any moment - two days of ever smaller circles of protection. . . #basicneeds #refugees #coping #humanrights #dignity #survival #franceukborder #dunkirk #dunkerque #kurdishtea #culturalresilience #culturalresistance

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last month

CALAIS CHARGED . . Complexities were played out wherever we looked and in all directions against the backdrop of Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal, the uncertainty increasing the risks that people are willing to take to get to the UK. . . The day centre was reluctantly closed until Monday due to issues of safety - the empty space acutely felt by the day centre staff and volunteers, backdropped by torrential rain. . . We offered the Secours Catholique team a chance to build a landscape together across a number of tables. Fragmented urban areas were peppered with tiny patches of green. . . #calais #brexit #franceukborder #teamsupport #crisissupport #arttherapists #artists #refugees #seekingasylum #installation

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last month

CALAIS CHARGED . . As we arrived at the road where distribution takes place we saw men scattered across a car park area in sleeping bags, literally sleeping out, unprotected, in the open. . . Adjacent was a new high fence that cordoned off the wooded area where people had previously camped - lit up against a rare moment of blue afternoon sky. . . The ambulance was parked on one of the only patches of ground left, up against piles of rubbish and people camping in a tiny corridor of trees. People were coming to the doctor with classic health issues related to poverty and homelessness - scabies, colds, stomach aches; and injuries sustained by violence, running from the police. . . There were tiny pockets of genuine interaction at the map - a selection of postcards aiding conversation; a family group tracing their route together. . . #calais #brexit #franceukborder #refugees #humanrights #basicneeds #humanrightsviolations #pocketsofprotection #crisissupport #psychosocialsupport #maps #mapping

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last month

CALAIS. WITNESSING THE ‘JUNGLE’ Bruno Serralongue. Agence France-Presse. Les habitants. CENTRE POMPIDOU. PARIS 16.10.19 - 24.02.20 . Beautiful, moving exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, opening to the public tomorrow! . Made up of three parts, Art Refuge is honoured to take part in the section “Les Inhabitants” with work made in collaboration with a group of refugee men in Calais, themselves unable to be at the Pompidou opening evening in person due to the challenges of their situation. . The four prints “Digital Shadows” were made using the cyanotype process one sunny afternoon in June 2019 at L’accueil du Jour de Calais. They came about as a result of a number of months working with cyanotype in the day centre courtyard for the Kabakov’s Ship of Tolerance in London. . The process was led by @nabarromiriam with a group of men and the Art Refuge team. Each print took 3-4 minutes to make - mobile phones, cables and other objects placed on sensitised paper and exposed to the sun. . The mobile phone features several times in the exhibition - the primary means for those displaced to be connected - with family, friends, maps, information, news, sports, and their own archive of films and images. . #pompidou #cyanotype #photography #calais #thejungle #refugees #refugeeartists #centrepompidou #mobilephone #connectivity #communication

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Oct 2019

The Ship of Tolerance as seen this evening from Tate Modern - an Installation of hand-drawn/painted/printed sails, part of an ongoing international art project by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. . First launched in Egypt in 2005, The Ship of Tolerance has been created in Venice, San Moritz, Sharjah, Miami, Havana, Moscow, New York, Zug, Rome and now London; and involves children and young people across London and refugee groups in Birmingham, Leeds, Peterborough, as well as Calais with Art Refuge contributing 17 sails using the cyanotype process. . The Ship of Tolerance is currently moored outside Tate Modern next to the Millennium Bridge, as part of the Totally Thames Festival. . Some of the sails are also being shown as part of #friezelondon ending tomorrow! . . #kabakov #totallythames #frieze #theshipoftolerance #cyanotype #refugees #calais #london #tatemodern

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Oct 2019

We brought the bricks back onto The Community Table responding to the change in weather and the marked lack of outdoors shelter. They felt right. As one of the interpreters at the table commented, there were young men from Sudan, Eritrea, Niger, Afghanistan and Iraq, alongside volunteers, all sitting together which he said rarely happened in the larger day centre space. There was humour and collaboration with buildings falling down; and being picked up and built again in new constellations. . . The atmosphere at the table was gentle, with buildings slowly emerging, conversations becoming more open, and volunteers and refugees finding mutual respect and affirmation across the confines of language. . . #franceukborder #calais #psychosocialsupport #building #bricks #reusedmaterials #context #history #care #refugees #humanrights #artists #builders #arttherapists #interpreters #volunteers #thecommunitytable

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Oct 2019

The shocking level of destruction of the small pockets of forestation and heavy police presence has led to perhaps the bleakest landscape we have seen in Calais in four years. . . The ambulance was parked on a roadside verge just off the motorway in the most exposed location to date; surrounded by factories emanating toxic fumes. This location was chosen by the Médecins du Monde team because their usual pitch is now unsafe. The map glowed in this environment. . . #franceukborder #calais #psychosocialsupport #mapping #map #lookingtogether #refugees #copingandhoping #resilience #humanrights #brexit #socialaction

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Sep 2019

A blustery September Sunday brought with it an #artmaterials #sale raising urgently needed funds for @artrefugeuk_ and its ongoing #arts -based #frontline #crisissupport #Calais since 2015. . Last week the camps in Calais and the large camp near Dunkerque were dramatically cleared. Refugees are however still in the area and many people don’t have basic items such as tents. Tensions are high, people are exhausted while police are making their presence felt. Refugees are asking for urgent psychological support. . Thank you for your #generous #donations ! . https://www.artrefugeuk.org/donate . #mentalhealthsupport #psychosocialsupport #crisisintervention #mapping #visualart #creativeagency #refugees #resilience #copingstrategies #dignity #hope #calais #artists #arttherapists #hostileenvironment #brexit #brutalpolicies #humanrights #medecinsdumonde #caritasfrance #claptonjumbletrail

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Sep 2019

THE POETRY TABLE ON THE BORDER . . This week we were privileged to be joined for a second time by Iranian artist Majid Adin who we first met in the Jungle Camp in Calais in 2015 and now lives in the UK. . . With the making of a short poetic film in mind, we laid out the typewriters and pens and paper and gently introduced the idea of poetry at The Community Table, setting the scene for the following day. By the end of the afternoon the large room was filled with people - refugees and volunteers, single men, unaccompanied teenagers and some families. . . We furthered developed The Community Table for the afternoon session, creating a projection area on the wall for a series of short pieces of kite footage taken during the original Jungle camp in 2016. Laying the tablecloth map beneath the typewriters we wanted to create an inviting environment that might encourage a poetic response. . . The films projected on to the wall attracted curiosity from across the busy room, while around 20 people worked directly with us during the afternoon. With Majid leading the poetry writing, small groups of Farsi speakers gathered around the table, the kites offering a poignant metaphor for talking about their situation while allowing for a more nuanced voice to be articulated. There was diversity of opinion and of language - with poems written and recorded in Farsi, Arabic, French and English. . . The interactions were at times intimate, with a mother and teenage son writing side by side, and others collaborating on a poem, taking different voices. Philosophical ideas were introduced: ‘The kite and the person have to be like one and two at the same time.’ . . #thecommunitytable #thepoetrytable #poetry #collaborativewriting #typewriters #sociallyengagedart #psychosocialsupport #artists #arttherapists #refugeedaycentre #kites #collaborations @miriusiskin @majid_adin_ma

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Sep 2019

CLEARANCES AND MAPPING IN CALAIS . . Returning to our fortnightly timetable, we joined Médecins du Monde at the edge of town on the road next to the distribution area. . It was painful to see the clearance of the wood where many people had been camping just days before. Across the two hours, heavy machinery tore through the low trees leaving the entire area stripped to the roots and therefore exposed. Finding shelter in this Calais landscape is becoming increasingly difficult. . . We were humbled to see people’s resilience under such difficult circumstances. Some spoke directly about how hard living in Calais is and of the police beatings and inhumane conditions. Those at the map spoke with each other about their journeys, or discussed politics or wanted to rename or mark out their route. . . People showed interest in countries that weren’t on the map and bits of land just over the map’s border. There were enquiries about Iceland, Finland, Scotland, Colombia and Portugal - what are these countries like? Could one imagine living there? Most showed a brave face. . . #franceukborder #border #brexit #clearances #refugees #humanrights #humanrightsabuses #map #journeys #medecinsdumonde #psychosocialsupport #artists #arttherapists #calais

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