london, uk: uncovering social issues via art & film

*** this is a very long post :) ... thank you for reading xoxx ***

Using art to bring awareness to social issues hits home with me. I absolutely love painting and in 2014, I started an organization called PaintItFwd, where myself and fellow artists painted social causes and donated the proceeds towards that cause. Although I have taken a bit of a hiatus while traveling, I look forward to revisiting when I am home but in the meantime, discovering what other artists are doing out there! 

One of my PaintItFwd peaces (get it, get it?!)

One of my PaintItFwd peaces (get it, get it?!)

Documentary: 'The Journey to Europe'

My friend Charlie invited me to the screening of 'The Journey to Europe' at Chatham House in London, which is a documentary about the migration from Libya to Europe. After watching the film, there was a Q&A with the panel (Ross Kemp- Actor/Filmmarker, Marta Shaw- Director, Mouna Elkekhia- Libya Researcher, Amnesty International and the Chair- Elham Saudi.

The film covers Ross' experiences as he and his team travel to Libya to detail the journey for migrants risking everything for a better life. It is hard to put into words the emotions that are felt while watching these humans rights violations occur. Although the migration crisis is wildly covered, the documentary shows the journey much deeper and tells the stories of the humans enduring this suffering. As covered in the Q&A, these are not statistics or numbers, these are human beings.

From sacrificing all of their life savings to riding on trucks with dozens of others through the steaming hot desert to dealing with smugglers, detention centers, high seas and risk of torture, kidnap, and physical abuse, these people are doing everything possible to escape and receive help no matter the danger. 

Also, as discussed in the Q&A, even if the migrants make it to Europe, that does not necessarily mean that they have a good life. Most of the time, they have spent everything they have to get there and are starting from the ground up. As I sadly saw in Paris, many often end up homeless on the streets while awaiting asylum. 

Although I do have access to the documentary, here is a clip of the Filmmaker/Director to learn more:

No matter where you stand on immigration, each of us has a responsibility to help stop this outrage and suffering. We are all, 100% human.

Action!!! While in Amsterdam (to be covered later) my friend, Erin, told me about an organization she volunteered with on the Greek Island, Lesvos: Movement on the Ground.

Movement on the Ground not only helps refugees who have arrived to Greece with basic needs, such as, food, shelter, water, etc. but also little ways to enhance health and well-being and instill some positivity in such a dark situation. If you are able, the organization is accepting donations, as well as selling life vest bracelets.

Art Gallery: Nepal Resilience on the Roof of the World

Oxo Tower, one of my favorite spots in London, is full of art and design. As I walked along the Southbank, I saw a posting for an art exhibit at Oxo on Nepal following the devastating earthquake. I planned to go the next day, and while on my way, I happened to see an advertisement for it in the paper on the tube (one of my favorite London pastimes!). Only up for a few days, I am grateful that I was in town to see the gallery. Presented by Phase Worldwide, the exhibit hosted the most beautiful photography of the people and culture of Nepal, as well as, incredible stories about the progress of the country and the impact being made in health, well-being and education post-earthquake.

It is a beautiful thing- the way stories, emotions and energy can be felt and told through art. Here, even in the most darkest of circumstances, light has shown through.

Lauren WittigComment