19 October 2023

Hestia’s annual Art is Freedom exhibition took over the Piccadilly lights screens yesterday to mark Anti-Slavery Day 2023 (18 October).

Art from the exhibition, created by survivors of modern slavery supported by Hestia, was displayed on the world-renowned screen alongside the strapline ‘The art is free, and now so are the artists.’

This was possible thanks to the support of Wunderman Thompson UK who created the film, and Landsec who donated the ad-space. The film promoted Hestia’s Trafalgar Square exhibition which is delivered in partnership with Westminster City Council.

One of the survivors featured in the exhibition said:

“The Art is Freedom workshop gave us the opportunity to show our talents here. I arrived at the last workshop with a blank page and didn’t know what feelings to put on it. All the colours represent different emotions: sadness, happiness, they are captured in my art piece.”

Mike Watson, Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson UK, added:

“We’re happy to have played an incredibly small part in helping Hestia express the stories and identities of those who have escaped modern slavery on one of the most viewed digital canvases in London.”

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive at Hestia, commented:

“Most of us cannot quite comprehend that slavery still happens in London and the UK in 2023. We hope that seeing Art is Freedom up on the iconic Piccadilly lights raises awareness of this brutal and often unpunished crime while also celebrating the talents, resilience, and hope of survivors. We are hugely grateful to Wunderman Thompson, Westminster City Council and Landsec for helping us make this a reality.” 

Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing at Westminster City Council said:

"We are so proud to continue our support for Hestia and showcase the incredible artwork around Westminster. Locations like Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square give the artists a chance to share their story with the biggest possible audience. This will hopefully raise awareness of modern slavery in the UK and change the perception of how it can happen in 2023."

You can visit the ‘Art is Freedom’ exhibition until 20 October 2023.

Find out more about Art is Freedom