Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.
Maya Angelou, Still I Rise
Rise Exhibition (3 – 8th March 2017) celebrated the connections and solidarity between the local community in Bristol, refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK. The exhibition featured artwork by refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol, as well as portraits drawn by artist Hannah Kirmes-Daly.
Rise Exhibition invited visitors to explore the people and personal viewpoints behind the statistics and headlines. Rather than focusing on the trauma or negative experiences, the artwork celebrated the diversity and uniqueness of individuals, moving away from the stigma often attached to the labels of asylum seeker and refugee. The exhibition also celebrated the contribution that people from all of the world bring to our local communities, and the connections between the wide ranges of cultures that makes up Bristol’s diverse community. This exhibition looked at connection between past memories and future hopes, and highlights individual perspectives on the experience of migration. The process of producing the Rise Exhibition has involved exploring personal expression and building relationships between Borderlands members, volunteers and artists. This was a two-way process. The street photography workshop asked Borderlands members to explore their first impressions of Bristol in their local communities. Various reflections emerged such as the difference in how animals are treated from pigeons to dogs, the confusion of traffic, the fear of becoming homeless, and the surprise at seeing blue hair. The images present views of a place both intimidating and full of exciting new opportunities. The audio recordings amplify the voices of Borderlands members and invite you to see Bristol through new eyes. Artwork and audio recordings for the exhibition were prepared during the twice weekly Drop-in sessions held at Borderlands in Easton; where over 400 people from around the world benefit from English and Maths classes, mentoring, advice, support and hot meals.
About the Contributors
Hannah Kirmes-Daly is a reportage illustrator and artist. Her work uses art as a way to document individual and collective stories focusing on issues concerning migration, gender, development and refugees.
Joyce Nicholls is a documentary portrait photographer and filmmaker working with travel writers, NGOs, Human Rights Organisations and Art and Cultural Institutions.
Jazlyn Pinckney is Bristol-based artist and producer for community arts. She is part of The World is Listening, a vibrant collective created in the response to the gender imbalance in music. She hosts a weekly show on BCFM and reviews for Bristol 24/7 magazine.