WAF Young Reviewer - Compassion

2nd August 2023

By Yash

Refugee week is an important week for many and is becoming more prevalent as we progress as a community. Many people may have relatives or friends who have been refugees, due to conflict or oppression. Many people are in need of aid in different countries such as Syria or Yemen and now more than ever, it's important we all recognise and support those in need due to serious issues in their home country.

Wandsworth Arts Fringe is made for the community, no matter who someone is or what background they come from. It embodies what Wandsworth stands for and is made to be fun, enjoyable, interactive and all round, just something for people to have fun with. But it also stands for many other things. It stands for raising awareness for issues we might not be aware of or know too much about such as refugees, and it stands for uniting the community amidst difficult times - the cost of lliving crisis and climate change amongst others.

Sprouts Arts in Furzedown is a local gallery, with all pieces such as paintings and poems being donated by other residents in the area. As part of the 2023 Refugee Week theme, Compassion, Sprouts Arts compiled and presented numerous paintings, poems, personal items such as toys and instruments, and even a small treat from a foreign country, which again was prepared by a local. Upon walking into the gallery, you can see how much work went into making each piece and presenting them in a way to not be overwhelming but showing a powerful message. There was a great variety of things to look at, all showing different aspects of being a refugee such as hopefulness and struggle, and is a real twist from the reality most of us would have faced.

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees, who were hosting the gallery, played a pivotal role in delivering the artwork and taught me and those who joined a lot about what they do, how they do it and the impact it has. It’s something that I found absolutely magnificent and was done in a way that made me want to be part of something bigger, which is something everyone can do whether it can be through using social media or joining a movement. Sprouts Arts demonstrated that there’s no limit to what people can do to help and made me feeling very good that I learnt about something new.

It was very interactive, with little notes of hope and love people could write and the people running the shop on hand to answer any questions we had about any of the paintings. There was a lot to taken in and there is a lot of work which goes behind holding these events and raising awareness with Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees having a lot of local volunteers helping out.

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees certainly made the experience enjoyable but informative and I really recommend checking them out! There was a lot of quality and beautiful artwork, by people of all ages and ethnicities, and this was all demonstrated and shown to drag you in and show you different realities of conflict and refugees.

Find out more: wandsworthwelcomesrefugees.org

Meet The WAF Young Reviewers 2023