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Freedom and Friendship
Institute of Contemporary Arts
15 – 29 August 2019

Courtesy Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants

Freedom and Friendship is a group exhibition in the ICA Studio exploring voice, political expression and notions of home.

The artists featured in the exhibition are students associated with the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants who have participated in monthly workshops at the ICA led by a range of artist-facilitators since late 2018. Over the course of screen-printing, banner-making, zine production, oral history and music workshops, the students created a diverse body of artistic output which conveys their personal stories, attachments, convictions and contexts.

Installed in the space in which the workshops were undertaken and including zines, postcards, a banner and a sound piece, the exhibition offers insights into the generative atmosphere of the workshops and the collective exploration in which the students were immersed. The exhibition also includes visual art and writing produced at the Islington Centre.
The Islington Centre workshops at the ICA are part of a partnership between the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants and the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This project aims to support asylum seekers, refugees and migrants by facilitating engagement with the contemporary arts. The workshops engage students from the Islington Centre to develop meaningful skills to express themselves through a variety of art forms. A principal aim is to enable this group – who are excluded from many spaces in London – to feel at home at one of the most prestigious venues in the city, through treating the space as their own and engaging with staff throughout the organisation. The project supports members of marginalised groups to create and present art that – rather than centring their marginalisation – shares narratives that may be political or entirely unconcerned with societal issues. The intended result is to create an open space for solidarity and engagement with the contemporary arts; supporting students to develop key skills and access positive personal outcomes.
The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants and the ICA would like to thank the following artists and artist collectives for facilitating workshops for the Islington Centre students: Ed Hall, James Jessiman, Joseph P. Kelly, Viva Msimang and OOMK (Heiba Lamara and Sahra Hersi).