Let's go fly a kite
21 June 2017 | 12:00 am

Wed, 21st Jun 2017 Ahmadzia Bakhtyari has been hard at work over the last few months, making kites which will go into our World Gallery in Spring 2018. Watch this video below to see how he has made these kites.You can meet Ahmadzia at our Refugee Week event on Saturday 24 June, and take part in his free kite-making workshops. Once you have made your kite, come and fly it with us in the Gardens at the end of the day. Find out more about Refugee Week 2017 at the Horniman or the World Gallery.

Celebrating LGBTQI refugees in the UK
19 June 2017 | 12:00 am

Mon, 19th Jun 2017

It is Refugee Week from 19 - 25 June. The week takes place every year across the world and we spoke to Rainbow Pilgrims about their work with LGBTQI immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.Many wonderful and talented people have had to flee their country of origin because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Research shows that 76 countries still prosecute people on the grounds of their sexual orientation – seven of which punish same-sex acts with death.  Still, even in countries that have supportive legislation, many LGBT people feel unsafe. DJ Scotch, now based in Manchester, found it too risky to come out as lesbian in his Zulu community and was only able to transition from female-to-male safely here in the UK. He reflects on how his life would look like these days back in South Africa,Walking in the street, what would I be inviting? I would be so insecure about why people are looking at me and what they’d be thinking. I would be uncomfortable, basically. Let alone to transition, it would be dangerous… Already people there are confused about lesbians, and how then would I even start explaining myself as being transgender?We believe there’s generally still a lack of awareness how amazingly diverse the UK’s immigrant population actually is, and that some refugees and asylum seekers are lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer/questioning or intersex.The project Rainbow Pilgrims: The Rites and Passages of LGBTQI migrants in the UK aims to fill this gap and give LGBTQI immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers a platform to tell their stories and celebrate their diverse identities and backgrounds.It is supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and hosted by the charity Liberal Judaism. Learn more about DJ Scotch’s experience, listen to other LGBTQI migrant stories and watch our new trailer #shareyourRPstory on Rainbow Pilgrims. We are extremely excited to be working alongside the Horniman on various events around the heritage of LGBTQI migrants in the UK. In fact, our great collaboration already started earlier this year at the annual Crossing Borders Day in March. We invited our friends from Micro Rainbow International to explore the concept of storytelling using museum objects. Micro Rainbow International UK works with LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees to heal through the arts and combats isolation.Together we can create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling LGBTQI and indeed all refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution. For more information and to get involved please contact project manager Shaan Knan via rainbowpilgrims@liberaljudaism.org or contact the organisation via their website. 

About the Art: Valerie Stack
16 June 2017 | 12:00 am

Fri, 16th Jun 2017

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community.  The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects. This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak Valerie Stack about her work. What is the story behind your artwork? My current pieces are based around music and nature. I was walking by my local river one day when I spotted some reeds just rustling in the breeze and thought how much the leaves looked like birds hiding amongst the greenery. I am also fascinated by how music is presented in nature, from a group of geese sounding like a horn section, to the chirps of song thrushes and blackbirds.What inspires you in day-to-day life? I look for inspiration in everything around me; it could be a view from a cafe window, an overheard conversation on the train or reading an interesting article. Why do you think it is important to support local artists? Art, if it is allowed to thrive can be very inclusive as there is something about it that seems to lift, enrich and inspire. 

About the Art: Linda Litchfield
16 June 2017 | 12:00 am

Fri, 16th Jun 2017

The Friends’ Art Exhibition is held every year in our Conservatory and showcases paintings, prints, textile art and sculptures from South London’s artist community.  The exhibition is a platform for new and established local artists and all proceeds contribute to Horniman Museum and Gardens projects. This year, we are talking to some of the artists involved in the exhibition to find out more about their work. Here, we speak to textiles artist Linda Litchfield. What is the story behind your artwork? I like to work with slow processes, dyeing fabric and threads with plants and stitching by hand. I often incorporate found textiles which carry their own narrative of past use. The work grows and develops slowly in my own hands as I add to it. What inspires you in day-to-day life? Plants and the colour that can be extracted from and then used to dye fabric and thread. The feel of used and worn textiles. The slow accretion of texture that can be achieved with stitch. The organic, the ramshackle, the dilapidated, the incomplete.Why do you think it is important to support local artists? Art enhances the quality and enjoyment of life of everyone. Artists devote their time to creating art. Local artists are part of your community and by living and working where they do, they improve your area. By supporting local artists, you are encouraging and assisting them to continue in practice and thus benefitting them, your community and yourself.


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