Art is Freedom is an annual exhibition featuring art and photography by survivors of modern slavery who are supported by Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response service.

Now in its sixth year, Art is Freedom is an opportunity for survivors to express their stories and identities through a creative medium. It’s also an opportunity to meet other people who have been through similar experiences, and to use art as a recovery tool.

Survivors come together every summer to join a programme of art and photography workshops. This year, our art workshops were generously funded and hosted by Ashurst, one of our corporate partners. Ashurst colleagues also volunteered their time to provide support and encouragement to survivors. The Ashurst workshops were run in partnership with Create, a charity focused on ensuring vulnerable people have access to education, social and life-enriching benefits of creative arts. Our photography workshops were run by Mark Dearlove, an experienced, professional photographer who has led all photography workshops for Art is Freedom in previous years.

Art is Freedom began in 2018, hosted at Southwark’s Anise Gallery. The exhibition has grown each year and has since been hosted in iconic locations across the capital including Trafalgar Square, South Kensington and the city’s busiest Network Rail stations.

Over the years, the art and photography captured by survivors has reached 6 million members of the public including royalty, MPs, and bishops.


2023 is another big year for Art is Freedom, taking centre stage in Trafalgar Square, Waterloo train station, South Kensington underground station (Thurloe Street), London Bridge train station and Paddington train station.

This is the second year that the exhibition has been co-curated by survivors themselves, alongside Vanessa Woodard and Francesca Gray-Walkinshaw from Sky Arts.

View last year’s artworks in the Gallery.

Find out more about Art is Freedom 2023 here.