Portsmouth will host a wide range of innovative and entertaining activity from exceptional refugee artists. From 10th – 22nd October, Journeys Festival International will showcase work exploring the refugee experience. From extraordinary theatre, an outdoor gallery, Coffee Shop Conversations, pop up theatre and art the city will celebrate the artistic talent and incredible stories of refugee artists and asylum seekers. Produced by Leicester based ArtReach, the festival intends to share great art, raise awareness of refugee experiences and create conversation within the community through arts and culture.
The programme comprises:
Look Up (10 – 22 October), delivered in partnership with Aspex, is a high impact, large scale outdoor visual arts exhibition on the exteriors of selected buildings across Portsmouth’s cityscape. Look Up presents Greek artist Nikos Papadopoulos’s colourful series Plasticobilism - a series of images inspired by the artist watching his young son play with Playmobil figures, the exhibition provides a thought provoking comment on current refugee issues.
Coffee Shop Conversations (12, 17 and 19 October) – A free opportunity for the public to discuss and exchange views with refugee artists over the domestic ritual of coffee and cake. Taking place at Aurora, Javalicious and Guildhall Café, each session is facilitated by a chairperson with guests including Malcolm Little from British Red Cross, novelist and poet Miriam Halahmy, and Dr Nora Siklodi, Lecturer in Politics and European Studies.
Sanctuary & Sustenance: The Story of Many Journeys to the UK (7:30PM 21 October) A multimedia projection of photography, film, music and in the stunning setting of Portsmouth Cathedral. Through photographs, moving graphics and music, viewers have an opportunity to trace the journey of a family during the catastrophic events of displacement and on to their path of sanctuary, and through the long process of rebuilding life in a new community.
Burning Doors by Belarus Free Theatre at New Theatre Royal (14 October) This extraordinary refugee theatre company presents the blazingly contemporary production Burning Doors, featuring the theatre debut of Maria Alyokhina from Pussy Riot. Following an incredible reception from audiences and critics, the acclaimed production will be coming to Portsmouth, to tell the true stories of persecuted artists, Petr Pavlensky, Oleg Sentsov and Maria Alyokhina, artists living under dictatorship, but who will not be silenced.
Pop Up Theatre (Thursday 13 October, The Container Project) A free Pop Up theatre performance will be taking place at a non-traditional outdoor theatre venue. An immersive, interactive piece of dance-theatre fusion brought to you by New Theatre Royal & Pamodzi Creative Productions. Entitled 10,000 Missing Children, the production explores the current refugee crisis, with specific focus on the 10,000 refugee children who are currently missing in Europe alone.
Kite Making and Flying Workshops (Saturday 15th October) Portsmouth Guildhall will host two interactive kite flying projects for all ages to enjoy the historic, cultural tradition. International Kite Project uses innovative digital technology and projections that allow the public to design and fly kites (virtual kite flying!), over the dramatic landscapes of Syria, India and Afghanistan, where Kite Culture is widely popular. The project is delivered in partnership with Inspirate. Community Kite Workshops specialise in hands-on kite making workshops, based on traditional designs from India and Afghanistan.
The Container Project (10 – 22 October) A shipping container will be transformed into an innovative project space in University of Portsmouth's Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries Eldon Building Courtyard. The container will host the WELL COME Project, in partnership with Aspex, the British Red Cross and Friends Without Borders. WELL COME will engage young participants from the refugee and asylum seeker community in visual arts workshops leading to an exhibition of their work. Southsea based artist M-One will guide participants to spray the façade of the Container with a design highlighting the theme of the festival.