What is Studio of Sanctuary?
The Art House became a Studio of Sanctuary in 2017; the first of its kind in the UK. As part of the award The Art House offers a welcome, integration, inclusion and friendship to people in the asylum process. Over the past year The Art House has run a weekly Talk and Draw session for all the community. This has given people the opportunity to meet people and explore language and ideas through drawing with pastels.
So far, Talk and Draw has welcomed participants from over 15 countries, including a number of participants often traveling from Urban House (an Accommodation Centre providing rooms for families and individuals).
Azib is an Eritrean grandmother who fled her country and travelled to the UK. She applied for asylum in 2021 and was placed in Wakefield later that year. During her journey, she was separated from her family and when her daughter and sons arrived in the UK separately, they were dispersed to London and Birmingham.
Azib is highly skilled weaver but has never had any formal education or the opportunity to draw. Having joined the weekly Talk and Draw sessions, Azib has enjoyed the freedom to explore her ideas and express her emotions through shapes and colour.
The people Azib draws are representations of her family members, and the other items enable her to talk about cooking and being the ‘big momma’ or grandmother of the family. The Talk and Draw sessions have helped Azib through some difficult and emotional times and, more recently, through happier times.
In January 2023, Azib was granted five years ‘Leave to Remain’ and will now move to Birmingham to live with her daughter and grandchildren. Azib has little English but sees The Art House as a “very, very good place”, and Talk and Draw will always have a ‘”golden” place in her heart.
Below are some images of the wonderful artwork that Azib created during her time with The Art House…
“The Talk and Draw team have fond memories of Azib and wish her well on her life’s journey. Farewell Azib.”
– Linda Fielding, Studio of Sanctuary Coordinator