This Friday Portsmouth welcomes the return of Journeys Festival International, the UK’s first festival of Sanctuary, is going to bring thousands of people together to explore cultures from around the globe in the cities of Portsmouth, Manchester and Leicester across the same ten days from 15 to 24 October.
Over twenty fabulous creative organisations from all over the UK and 21 venues are working together to deliver the festival with the aim of improving community cohesion and inspiring hope and understanding through a series of events, exhibitions, film viewings and performances. With the overarching theme of welcome, Journeys Festival International wants to break down the stigma attached to sanctuary seekers arriving in the UK, by sharing and celebrating art and events created by and with community members and artists with experience of forced migration.
Twenty artists ranging from as far as Syria, Iran and Zimbabwe are teaming up with British and European artists to celebrate this creative and cultural exploration of global cultures.
‘Where There is Light’ by Squidsoup @ Portsmouth – St Mary’s Church, PO1 5PA
Where There is Light raises questions about where we find light in our lives, in ourselves, in others and in the world around us. With the soundscape showcasing interviews that took place online during lockdown in 2020, the installation wants to bring people together and encourage a sense of connection and hope. We hope to rebuild, reconnect and transform how communities connect in times where isolation and loneliness have impacted many people.
Monday – Saturday: 9.30am – 12.00pm & 7pm – 9pm
Wednesday: 9.30am – 12.00pm only
Sunday: 3.00pm – 8.00pm
Book your place here.
‘Wonderland’ by Mohammad Barrangi @ Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays
13 – 24 October
Wednesday – Sunday: 11.00am – 4.00pm
‘Wonderland’ is an exhibition of new work by internationally renowned artist Mohammad Barrangi. Traditional Persian calligraphy techniques are beautifully woven through contemporary printing and collage processes to create an intimate and personal story of cultural identity and immigration.
As part of this installation of work, there will be a live painting led by Mohammad Barrangi at Aspex Portsmouth on 15 October. You’ll be able to watch the artist as he creates a large-scale artwork in a day in front of a live audience.
‘Reckoning’ by Akeim Toussaint Buck, Filmmaker Ashley Karrell, Animator Benedetta Fasson and Writer Mandla Rae @ New Theatre Royal, PO1 2DD
19 October: 7.00pm – 8.30pm (Book Free or Pay What You Decide Tickets here)
Reckoning is a multimedia short film and performance piece created by a collaboration of Liberty EU Portfolio artists – Choreographer and Storyteller Akeim Toussaint Buck, Filmmaker Ashley Karrell, Animator Benedetta Fasson and Writer Mandla Rae. Weaving together contemporary lyrical dance, archive, animation and storytelling, Reckoning has been created from the Reckoning with Refugeedom archives which tell the stories of generations of displaced people in their own words.
‘Look Up’ by Ally Zlatar, Bahzad Sulaiman, Parham Ghalamdar and Rita Adib
15th – 24th October
All day every day @ various locations across each city centre
Look Up is a series of new visual artworks displayed in outdoor public locations across Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth. The works have been created by international artists Ally Zlatar, Bahzad Sulaiman, Parham Ghalamdar and Rita Adib, with mentorship support from Rachel Dobbs and Adam Broomberg. Each artist has created a unique and personal artwork, designed to share messages, stories and images that respond to themes of well-being and mental health, cultural greetings, national identity and borders, as well as privilege.
The Look Up artworks were developed in collaborative artistic residencies hosted by Aspex Portsmouth, UK, and coculture in Berlin, Germany.
‘Journeys into Film’ by Various Artists @ No.6 Cinema, PO1 5PA
21 October: 6.00pm
Tickets cost £5 and can be booked here
Journeys into Film presents a rousing and reflective programme of short films made by filmmakers from sanctuary-seeking backgrounds. The fantastic programme of five specially selected films offers both artistic intrigue and an injection of the reality of displacement and seeking refuge. Short films include The Little Whale on the Beach by Parang Khezri, My Name is Anik by Bircan Birol, Ambience by Wisam Al-Jafari, Birds or Borders by Parham Ghalamdar and This is Not a Poem by Eric Ngalle Charles and Greg Lewis.
Global Kitchen @ Outside-In, PO5 4BN
18 October: 6.00pm
Ticket costs vary from £15 – £20 (Concessions available)
Tickets cost £15 and can be booked here
The Global Kitchen Supper Club, inspired by a recipe book made by members of the sanctuary-seeking community who shared the favourite dishes from their home countries at community meals, is taking the project to another level: On 18 October, you can enjoy global pizzas with toppings taken from the recipe book and a Vietnamese street-food buffet inspired by the rice dishes from Zimbabwe and Afghanistan at Outside-In Food Court.
‘Tale of Tresses’ by Maral Mamaghanizadeh @ Aspex Gallery, Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3BF
13 – 24 October
Wednesday – Sunday: 11.00am – 4.00pm
The Tale of Tresses is a body for work created by Maral Mamaghanizadeh, a deaf female artist who had to seek asylum in the UK after her MA graduation project was brought to the attention of the Iranian regime.
Maral Mamaghanizadeh graduated with an MA from the school of Jewellery and Silversmithing from Birmingham City University in 2017. During her time at BCU, she creates work that draws on her experience as a Deaf Iranian woman with feminism, oppression and the forced wearing of the hijab in Iran. As a woman in Iran, you are not allowed to uncover your hair, talk about feminism or sexuality, as these are taboo subjects. Leaving Iran and studying in the UK gave Maral a new perspective on the issues surrounding women’s rights. As a provocation, she cut her hair live on Instagram and created a series of brooches using her own and her Iranian friend’s hair. Each brooch is unique, using patterns and symbols to represent the personality of the woman who donated their hair and risked their personal safety to participate in this work.
Graffiti Art and Protest in Iran by Parham Ghalamdar and Steven Lake @ New Theatre Royal, PO1 2DD
Tickets free or Pay What You Decide, 1 hour slots throughout each day
21 – 22 October
Thursday and Friday 1.00pm – 7.00pm
Book Free or Pay What You Decide Tickets here
Take a virtual reality tour of a water tunnel in Iran that became a canvas for graffiti artists and a focal point for political and social protest. In this virtual reality installation, Parham Ghalamdar shares the stories behind the artworks and their destruction in the context of political freedoms and creative expression in modern day Iran.
Executive Produced by Limina Immersive.
Halabja: In the Golden Days by Gulan @ Portsmouth Cathedral, PO1 2HA
Free to attend
14 October – 3 November
Monday – Saturday: 10.00am – 3.00pm
Sunday: 12.45pm – 3.00pm
As part of Journeys Festival International in 2020, UK charity Gulan published a magazine about Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan, a city known for the terrible chemical weapons attack in 1988. The publication – which you can find below – featured interviews and essays about the culture of Halabja and work by artists from the region.
This year, Gulan is showing the exhibition Halabja: In the Golden Days – based on this material – at Portsmouth Cathedral from 14 October to 3 November to celebrate the rich history and culture of Halabja. The exhibition and related events will create a colourful celebration of Kurdish culture – aiming to reinforce a sense of cultural identity among the Kurdish diaspora in Portsmouth and increase awareness in the wider public.
Textile Journeys through Portsmouth by Splodge Designs @ Portsmouth – St Mary’s Church, PO1 5PA
15 – 24 October
Friday 15 October: 9.00am – 12.00pm
Monday – Saturday: 9.00am–12.00pm & 7pm–9pm
Wednesday: 9.00am – 12.00pm only
Exhibiting a glorious carnival costume created by local participants, alongside Where There is Light.
The festival is featuring films, food, exhibitions in and outdoors, large scale projections, virtual reality experiences alongside performances and cultural experiences – giving us opportunities to explore and share together. From 15 -24 October across the city centre, communities are invited to join the festival team on their cultural and creative journey. You can find the full itinerary of events and how to get involved here.
Images: Benedetta Fasson, Tom Wren and Ashley Karrell Panoptial