‘Art Is Freedom’ exhibition by survivors of modern slavery opens to the public

Hestia’s Art Is Freedom exhibition, which features artwork and photography created by survivors of modern slavery, has opened to the public.

The exhibition will be at Paternoster Square, behind St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, from today (18 October) until next Monday, 25 October.

The opening coincides with International Anti-Slavery Day, which is marked annually on 18 October.

Survivors of modern slavery supported by Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response Team attended art and photography workshops throughout the summer, hosted by professional artists and photographers.

Attendees were asked to create and capture art and photos centred around the theme of hope, exploring their hopes and dreams for their future in London.

Members of the public attending the exhibition will be able to read about the inspiration behind each piece of artwork and each photograph, as well as speak to advocates from Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response Team to learn more about modern slavery.

The exhibition also includes interactive elements, with visitors able to listen to an audio recording of a survivor reading a poem she has written, and download a toolkit with information on spotting the signs of modern slavery.

Art Is Freedom exhibition at Paternoster Square

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.”   

Read more about the Art Is Freedom exhibition here.

About Hestia’s Modern Slavery Response Team

Hestia supports over 2,200 adult victims of modern slavery and 1,200 dependent children each year through emotional and practical support.

We work with survivors both through pan-London outreach support and through safe house accommodation across London and the south east.

Hestia’s volunteer-led Phoenix Project also provides long-term support to survivors of modern slavery as they integrate into the community and begin to move towards a life beyond crisis.

We also campaign and advocate nationally on the issues that affect victims and survivors of modern slavery. Our Underground Lives series explores issues faced by specific groups of survivors, such as pregnant women, children of survivors and victims of criminal exploitation.