Refugee Art Exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall

The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association will be holding an art exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall to showcase their new project: Refugee Women’s Art.

On 28 June the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA) will be holding an art exhibition at the renowned Royal Albert Hall to showcase their new project: Refugee Women’s Art.

The exhibition will be open from 12-4 pm and will display artworks by migrants and refugee women in London and Izmir, which were produced in the context of two projects funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, and the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The art depicts the women’s experiences of home – something which for refugees and migrants is always in flux. Art and culture lovers will have the chance to enjoy a unique showcasing of some personal experiences from the women’s lives. It will be a celebration of art as a therapeutic tool that provides refugee women with an outlet, empowerment and hope.  

John Nassari Photography

The art sessions are a part of the a wider project by the ACAA – Challenging Stereotypes – which are a series of workshops for marginalised Muslim women funded by The Pilgrim Trust. Challenging Stereotypes aims to encourage women to volunteer and participate at events and workshops providing them with a safe space to improve their confidence, knowledge and integration. The ACAA are uniquely placed to deliver this work as a grassroots community-based organisation, founded and run by those from refugee backgrounds themselves. 

One of the women involved in the art project, who is originally from Kabul in Afghanistan, commented:

“Through my art sessions with the ACAA I have been able to learn how to express myself through drawing and painting, as well as improving my English. During the sessions, my mind only concentrates on what I want to draw so it’s allowed me to put aside the challenges I face and made me feel stronger and more confident about my abilities.

“Now that my confidence has grown, I look forward to being more active in society and participating in more workshops that are outside of my comfort zone”.  

The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA) work to help integrate refugees into life in the UK by providing services such as English language classes, cultural events, and support services for women. The art projects were led by Dr Mastoureh Fathi (Royal Holloway University of London), with the contribution of Rabia Nasimi (Afghanistan and Central Asian Association), Dr Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway University of London), Özcan Gülhan (Halkların Köprüsü Derneği – Association of Bridging People, Izmir) and Izmir Municipality.

Rabia Nasimi, Development and Strategy Manager of the ACAA said: 

“These workshops have been instrumental in that they have given them a therapeutic outlet, but also because they have become a social occasion where they can meet to create new friendships. The women connect and share experiences about their own lives with others, developing strong bonds of similarity as well as learning new cultures.

“Our women’s project is vital to the communities we serve. Muslim immigrant and refugee women are a hard-to-reach and marginalised group. They often have no social groups outside of the one which has been created here. The beauty of the project is that they have managed to create their own community where they feel safe”.

As the first art exhibition by the ACAA, the day will mark an opportunity to bring together different cultural groups to appreciate art and the meaning of home. For more information about the ACAA please visit: 

Sarah Mills is a managing editor and writer at Conatus News.