Young Artists Raise Awareness of the ‘Hostile Environment’ for Migrants
More than 300 people gathered together on the evening of Thursday, November the 30th, at a fundraiser for Migrants Organise and awareness-raising event around the government’s ‘hostile environment’ agenda. Seventeen young London artists produced and exhibited work seeking to highlight the dangers posed to democracy by the set of policies the government has introduced to prevent migrants from having a normal life in the UK.
The wide range of art pieces on display provided a varied interpretation and understanding of the ‘hostile environments’ theme. Both figurative and abstract installations, sculptures, illustrations and paintings explored the extreme isolation that many migrants experience as a result of the government’s systemic discrimination and marginalisation of those seeking sanctuary in this country. A dance piece meanwhile powerfully conveyed the climate of fear that vulnerable migrants are forced to live in – whether the fear of getting ill, securing somewhere to live, or of not being able to provide for their children.
These artistic visualisations depicted the nefarious government policies, introduced in legislation from 2012 onwards, which are designed to together create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrants in the UK. The government is achieving this objective by demanding that health professionals, social workers, landlords, employers, universities and many other individuals and institutions check the immigration status of those they are working with, effectively turning them into border control agents.
Roz Pendlebury, Chair of the Trustees at Migrants Organise, said of the exhibition: “At Migrants Organise, we speak out on issues affecting refugees and migrants; build connections and common ground amongst diverse people; and support them to grow their power to act for change. At a time when the government’s institutionalisation of prejudice and public suspicion of migrants is at its peak, it’s encouraging to see young people taking the initiative, refusing to be divided, replacing hostility with creativity, and advocating for the rights of some the UK’s most vulnerable people.”
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