The Travelling Gallery’s Spring 2019 exhibition will explore how artists and creative industries are responding to global migration now. With ongoing international conflicts and the continued displacement of human beings, we are questioning how we view, understand, and represent refugees. Can artists give a voice to those who don't have one?
The group show will include a wide range of creatives from different disciplines working in collaboration with International aid organisations and charities. These include American photojournalist Brendon Bannon who worked with the United Nations Refugee Agency and Syrian refugee children to allow them to document their own lives. Other work includes film, architecture and illustration.
As part of the Experiences of Exile series of exhibitions and events, the Art Collection currently has on display an artwork Lampedusa created by artist Olivia Lomenech Gill. Lampedusa was created in 2008 and was inspired by the refugee crisis explored in Caroline Moorehead’s book Human Cargo (2006). This lecture will discuss the refugee stories traced in the book, the inspiration and production of the artwork, and will consider what has and hasn't changed over the decade since.
Caroline Moorehead is a bestselling author and acclaimed biographer who has also written for the Telegraph, the Times, and the Independent. She travelled for nearly two years and across four continents to research her book Human Cargo, which takes readers on a journey to understand why millions of people are forced to abandon their homes, possessions, and families in order to find a place where they may, quite literally, be allowed to live. The book, which was revised and updated in 2016, changes our understanding of what it means to have and lose a place in the world, and reveals how the refugee "problem" is on a par with global crises such as terrorism and world hunger.
Olivia Lomenech Gill lives and works in Northumberland. Initially studying Drama at Hull University, she went on to complete an MA Printmaking at Camberwell College of Arts in London. She is a painter, printer and illustrator who has exhibited widely and received many awards. Most recently she was the illustrator on the Illustrated Editions of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact.
Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey. Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever.
This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?