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  • Writer's pictureAnnelise Richardson

"Hear My Voice": Traveling Exhibition on Migrants and Visual Arts comes to the JFRC

Written by Annelise Richardson

The John Felice Rome Center’s Human Rights: View from Rome course, taught by professor Luca Badetti, collaborated with Mediterranean Hope, a humanitarian organization that works with refugees across Europe, to create an educational booklet about three major projects undertaken by the organization in recent years.

The booklet provides information on three exhibits curated by Mediterranean Hope in recent years, which have been temporarily installed at the JFRC. You can view the exhibits in the JFRC chapel, Sala Musica, and the Information Commons.

The three exhibits seek to empower refugees by giving them a voice through creative art. As detailed in the information booklet created by students in the Human Rights course, art can be a powerful medium in easing emotional healing and relieving stress caused by trauma. Migrants who seek asylum in the European Union must often first prevail through difficulties and endangerments when making the journey from their native country. The booklet explains that “Migration, at its simplest, is movement from one place to another. At its most complex, it is a highly politicized concept which polarizes public debate and rarely places those directly affected at the center. The purpose of “Hear my Voice” is to provide “an opportunity for those people to articulate something of what it is to be a migrant.” Through three exhibitions, “The Fence”, “Oranges for Justice”, and “The Kites”, the stories of migrants situated in Calabria and Sicily are candidly portrayed through a medium which is common to all languages and cultural backgrounds: the visual arts.

"The Fence" incorporates the element of storytelling into the visual arts, giving a platform for migrants to share the struggles they faced in their journeys to Italy. "Oranges for Justice" exposes the exploitation of migrants in the agricultural industry, specifically focusing on orange groves in Southern Italy. "The Kites" unites children and adults who identify as migrants to facilitate conversation about shared experiences.

The exhibition was cultivated over the course of January 2022 through 13 art-based workshops provided to migrants in Italy. Along with the John Felice Rome Center, “Hear My Voice” was established in collaboration with the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, The Clewer Initiative, and the Anglican Centre in Rome.

The work of the Human Rights course has culminated in a moving display of the healing power of art, and the JFRC invites you to share your thoughts about the exhibit on the message board near the IC.

To learn more about “Hear my Voice”, read the informational booklet here.

"The Kites" exhibit on display in the Information Commons at the John Felice Rome Center. Photos taken from JFRC's official Facebook page.

Original pieces by migrants displayed within "The Fence", a multimedia exhibit situated in the JFRC Chapel. Photos taken from JFRC's official Facebook page.

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