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Month-long celebration of refugee arts and culture begin as part of National Refugee Week

A month-long celebration of refugee arts and culture has started as part of National Refugee Week.

Festival 31 has launched this week and offers a series of unique and thought-provoking art commissions and events exploring the refugee experience.

Organised by Liverpool-based charity SOLA Arts, the festival has been taking place in the city since 2014, but has moved online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of Festival 31, nine commissioned artists will see their work exhibited on the Culture Liverpool website, which is partnering with SOLA Arts and the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse to co-ordinate this year’s festival and showcase the creativity and cultures of both our refugee communities, and artists from refugee backgrounds.

Artists were able to bid for micro-grants funded by Culture Liverpool, Our Liverpool , Liverpool City Council’s refugee and asylum seeker service, and the estate of artist Fanchon Fröhlich who studied and lived in Liverpool. The commissioned artists have responded to the theme of “Creative Connections” and what the number 31 can be, maybe 31 days, 31 hours, 31 people,  31 countries, 31 questions.

Festival 31’s commissioned artists are:

Adrian Mejia – VIDA In The Time Of Corona

A mini documentary detailing the artist’s personal experience as a gay asylum seeker living with virus symptoms.

Becky Downing – 31 Letters In My Alphabet

A piece representing some of the voices, languages and accents that make up the rich range of dialects in Liverpool.

Bisakha Sarker – Splash

A Zoom film presenting a number of 31-syllable poems.

Dorota Modlinger – Mandala of Hope and Dreams – New Moon Ritual

A visual interpretation of the dreams, signs and symbols shared in a live online performance.

Kali Chandrasegaram – Move’in A Charm

A piece bringing together 31 hand artists exploring 31 magical charms complemented by an original soundtrack.

Karen Wynne – dis/mis

A video piece, using a mobile phone camera whilst making a short journey through the artist’s community on bike and on foot.

Nesrin Yousef – The Will Of The Universe – Unexpected And Out Of Our Control

A poem and song reflecting where the artist and her cousin are currently up to in life, the artist in Liverpool and her cousin starting anew in Germany as a musician and singer.

Nina Edge – The Fall

A short film evoking the feeling of being deeply rooted in this land, whilst at the same time completely up-rooted and wilted by the UK’s prevailing cultural norms.

Rania Alkhllo – Hope

A video of 31 different people expressing their hope for the future in their own way and language.

The festival runs until Sunday 12 July and all the commissions and activities can be found at www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/festival31

READ MORE: Installation of Liverpool’s second pop-up cycle lane begins

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