Luan Gallery, in association with New Horizon Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support, will host a community event to welcome, support, and celebrate new members of the extended community to Athlone. The event will be chaired by Breaking Borders exhibiting artist Vukašin Nedeljkovic and will start at 5.30pm on Wednesday August 31. This event is supported by Creative Ireland and Westmeath County Council.
Athlone has become a significant regional centre and is host to multinational companies employing Irish and international workers, overseas students attending TUS, and a growing community of displaced persons living in direct provision sites in the town and surrounding areas, including the recently welcomed Ukrainian refugees. This inclusive event forms part of the accompanying outreach of the exhibition, Breakings Borders, which brings together seven visual artists working in various mediums. The artists respond to physical, psychological, and societal forms of borders and how we, as a society, can identify, debate and address these barriers.
The event will take the format of a talk with artist Vukašin Nedeljkovic and Gerry Callaghan, a long-term volunteer and chairman of New Horizon, and performances from African choir, Cor Aontachtach Áth Luain. Contributions from the audience will be also encouraged. It is intended to create an opportunity for discussion and engagement between residents and individuals who have experienced a sense of sociological or geographical displacement.
Luan Gallery manager, Carmel Duffy, said: “As the municipal art gallery, Luan Gallery plays a role in supporting our new and expanding communities through its diverse visual arts programming and outreach activities and works with the broader community to create a sense of belonging for all.”
New Horizon is a frontline refugee support group based in Athlone comprising volunteers who work with the Lissywollen direct provision site in Athlone and Horseleap.
Chairman Gerry Callaghan said: “New Horizons’ motto is to welcome, support and celebrate. We are delighted to team up with Luan Gallery and exhibiting artist Vukašin Nedeljkovic to host this event as a celebration of the riches that newcomers bring.”
Vukašin Nedeljkovic is a multidisciplinary artist and activist living in Ireland. He is one of seven exhibiting artists in Breaking Borders, a themed group exhibition on show at Luan Gallery until September 25. He holds an MA in visual arts practice from IADT and is currently a PhD candidate at the Technological University Dublin.
Vukašin initiated a multidisciplinary project, Asylum Archive, when he was living in a direct provision centre awaiting the results of his asylum application. This ongoing project is a collaboration with asylum seekers, artists, academics, civil society activists and immigration lawyers, among others, with a view to creating an interactive documentary cross-platform online resource, critically foregrounding accounts of exile, displacement, trauma and memory.
All are welcome to attend this free event supported by Creative Ireland and Westmeath County Council. It starts at 5.30pm sharp on Wednesday August 31 at Luan Gallery. For further information contact Luan Gallery at 0906 442154 or [email protected].