This is my home now | 14 January – 5 February | free entry

Press Release: 09/01/2012

Photo: Fang Gleizes

Opening in City Space on 14 January for 3 weeks ‘This is my home now’ features a multi-media exhibition celebrating the lives of 28 men and women who have found refuge in the Southampton and Winchester area from conflict or persecution. Their stories are part of a book edited by author Judy Heneghan with photographs by Fang Gleizes. The exhibition will feature photographs and a Talking Globe, devised by Adam Hender of Visible Ideas Ltd, which allows visitors to hear extracts from interviews with the refugees while pinpointing their countries of origin on the globe.

Ninety year old Rose Dawson, who fled the Nazis and came to Southampton in 1939 as a lady’s maid, and Osman Bah who was 16 when he escaped civil war in Sierra Leone, are two of the refugees who have taken part in a project supported by £28,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Osman said

I’ve been in Southampton since June 2002. I grew up here. That old life I used to have was very difficult. In the war they took all the strong boys to join the rebellion; the rebels came at night. Everybody ran. I escaped but I lost my family. In England I feel more safe.”

The project was initiated to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention on Refugees, signed in 1951, and was first exhibited to the public at The Art House in Southampton on 21 June 2011. The project is managed by Maïanna Moreau and sponsored by two organisations which support asylum seekers and refugees: SWVG (Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group) and CLEAR (City Life Education and Action for Refugees).

Cllr. Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Heritage and Sport for Winchester City Council said

At the start of a year which sees Great Britain welcome the world to witness the Olympics and Paralympics this exhibition offers an opportunity to reflect on the circumstances, often traumatic and heartbreaking, that have brought those individuals seeking sanctuary and refuge in the face of conflict or persecution to our shores in search of a new life and a hopeful future.”

The original audio recordings of interviews for the project, conducted by BBC journalist Jenny Cuffe and a team of volunteers, have been given to Southampton City Council for its archive.

The exhibition ‘This is my home’ now opens on Saturday 14 January and runs until Sunday 5 February. 

City Space opening times: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm

Admission is free.

For more details, contact:
Maïanna Moreau:
Tel. 07802 446 662

Jenny Cuffe:
Tel. 07885 406 408

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