The 1830 Gallery is proud to announce a Refugee Week Calderdale project Arte Libre. Refugee Week Calderdale is the community group that celebrates migration through art and culture. The exhibition, which has been organised by Refugee Week Calderdale, aims to bring people from diverse cultural backgrounds together in order to raise cross cultural awareness, and challenge preconceived ideas through participating in fun, inspiring and collaborative activities.
Katie Fawcett, project co-ordinator for Arte Libre says ‘We wanted to provide people with opportunities for thought provoking, creative experiences that not only develop skills and strengthen friendships but provide a relaxed and nurturing atmosphere for discussion and self-expression’.
‘Refugee Week Calderdale applied for the grant from Peoples health trust as it was too good an opportunity to miss. Its aims were to bring people together through art and over time, develop new skills but also new friendships. The project is aimed at tackling isolation and increasing community involvement’ says Audrey Smith chair of Refugee Week Calderdale. The year long programme was designed to bring people together and help reveal their individual artistic interests with the goal of the project culminating in an exhibition.
Artist and Artworks tutor Harriet Lawton worked in collaboration with Refugee Week Calderdale staff to design and deliver the programme. Harriet says “We wanted participants to have enough time to invest in a meaningful artistic process and develop relationships as well as artistic skill”.
There are 24 participants in the Arte Libre project from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda as well as people who have lived in Halifax most of their lives. Everyone has had the chance to take part in artistic sessions that explore different mediums such as self-portraiture, textile design, photography and collage. Everyone involved has also developed their own piece of self-initiated work on the theme of freedom which will be exhibited in the Arte Libre group show.
Refugee Week Calderdale take the lead in organising Calderdale Neighbours Day as well other ongoing activities to bring people together to build relationships and learn from each other. They have delivered numerous arts based projects in schools and community groups across the borough.