Today, Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie visited Paternoster Square to view ‘Art Is Freedom’, an art exhibition by survivors of modern slavery curated by the crisis charity Hestia. The Princess visited the exhibition in her role as Co-Founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective.

The exhibition which centers around the theme of ‘hope’ includes photography and mixed media pieces by men, women and children who have experienced modern slavery who have completed a workshop series delivered by volunteer professional artists.  

Hestia, which supports over 2,200 adult victims of modern slavery and 1,200 dependent children each year said in its latest report, there are at least 5,000 children of modern slavery victims in the UK with many more potentially lost in the system.  

The exhibition which opened on Anti-Slavery Day will help spread awareness of the issue in London and help the public to confidently spot the signs of modern slavery. 

Art is Freedom is open to the public at Paternoster Square, central London until 5pm on Monday 25 October. 

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive at Hestia said:

“Modern slavery silences victims and brutally takes their freedom. In providing survivors with a creative outlet to explore their trauma, they can find their voice and begin their journey to recovery. While this journey to recovery is different for everyone, Art is Freedom plays a vital role in supporting survivors of modern slavery to a life beyond crisis and a future with a voice and freedom.” 

A survivor of modern slavery said: 

I have always enjoyed taking pictures. It’s a fun way to spend time but I didn’t know what made a good photo, there are lots of different elements to think of. The lockdown restrictions have been difficult. Like many people, I have struggled with my mental health. The workshops allowed me to focus on a new task each week that wasn’t about the pandemic. I soon found the workshops as an outlet to help with everything that was going on in the world and I started to feel more positive.  I've learnt new skills and it helps me staying positive with my mental health; it’s been an excellent experience.”  

A survivor of modern slavery said:

“I chose to attend this workshop because it’s good for me to spend time with other people. I liked how everyone was cooperative which made the environment cooperative. It was a good setting to paint in.   

This workshop and the people who attended it brought me happiness, I liked being part of group discussions and just feeling like part of a group, like I belonged to them.  I hope it brought the other happiness too.” 

-END-  

Contact:  

Josh McLean, Communications Manager, Hestia: [email protected] |07845 555 995  

  • Returning for the fourth year running, Art is Freedom enables participants to creatively express themselves and their story around the theme of ‘hope’.     
  • Survivors took part in online photography workshops with a professional photographer and in person mixed media workshops with volunteer artists.   

About Hestia  

For 50 years, Hestia has provided support and hope every step of the way of recovery. Today, millions of people are experiencing domestic abuse, modern slavery and challenges with their mental health. Hestia believes no-one should suffer alone. Together, we can make sure people find a life beyond crisis.  

At Hestia we support adults and children in times of crisis. We deliver services across London and the surrounding regions, as well as campaign and advocate nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. Last year we supported 15,238 men, women and children. This includes victims of modern slavery, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, we support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond a crisis. We are supported by over 900 volunteers across London who provide specialist skills such as art therapy, yoga, IT, gardening and cooking, as well as befriending and fundraising.