Art is Freedom

An art exhibition by survivors of modern slavery

Art is Freedom is Hestia’s annual art and photography exhibition, featuring work created by survivors of modern slavery.

The exhibition takes place during the week of Anti-Slavery Day, 18 October, every year, raising awareness of the modern slavery happening in all of our communities, and the roles we all play in ending it.

Survivors supported by Hestia's Modern Slavery Response Service take part in art and photography workshops every summer, learning and refining their skills, before submitting their best pieces for the exhibition.

Hestia Art Is Freedom exhibition


How does Art Is Freedom support survivors of modern slavery?

We know that art can be used as a tool to process and overcome trauma. Survivors have shared with us that the opportunity to tell their stories and express their emotions through art has helped to improve their mental health, while taking part in the workshops helps to reduce isolation.

“I feel energetic when I paint. I feel like I can do anything!” - Trini*

Trini* started painting in April 2021, after arriving at one of Hestia's safe houses for survivors of modern slavery.

She has since created more than 100 paintings and poems, and started a fine art and design college course. Several of her paintings were on display at Art Is Freedom 2021, in London's Paternoster Square. 

Trini looks at her art at Art Is Freedom

Read Trini's story now

Listen to Trini reading her poem Hope:


Art Is Freedom through the years

Art Is Freedom first took place in 2018 at the Anise Gallery, near Tower Bridge. Since then, it has been hosted in London Bridge station and at Paternoster Square, behind St. Paul's cathedral. 

In addition to providing a platform for survivors to share their journeys, the exhibition is an opportunity for key individuals in the sector to come together, share insights and discuss practical steps to end modern slavery.

HRH Princess Eugenie at Art Is Freedom modern slavery exhibition Bishop of London at Art Is Freedom modern slavery exhibition
HEH Princess Eugenie and Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, are just two of the visitors to Art Is Freedom over the years

The exhibition has been visited by and hosted discussions with the UK's Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioners, MPs, journalists, the Bishop of London and Co-Founder of the Anti-Slavery Collective HRH Princess Eugenie, to name but a few. 

Take a look back at just some of the artwork and photography captured and created by the survivors supported by Hestia.

Art Is Freedom - through the years by Hestia

Hestia's Modern Slavery Response

Hestia's Modern Slavery Response service began in 2011, and since then, we have supported more than 5,000 victims of modern slavery to recover from the trauma they have faced. We provide safe houses in London and Kent, in addition to pan-London outreach support in every London borough.

We also offer longer term support via our volunteer-led Phoenix Project, where members of the community can volunteer their time and skills to support victims of modern slavery into an independent life within their communities.