16 October 2023

Our new exhibition of art and photography created by survivors of modern slavery is being launched in London, ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on the 18th October.

‘Art is Freedom’ has been curated by survivors of modern slavery who have been supported by us, alongside special guests from Sky Arts. This exhibition, which celebrates its sixth year in 2023, is free to attend and will be on display from Saturday 14th – Friday 20th October at Trafalgar Square, Waterloo station, London Bridge station, Paddington station and outside South Kensington underground station. On Anti-Slavery Day, a selection of the artwork will be displayed on the famous screens in Piccadilly Circus

In 2023, the survivors chose to focus their artwork on the theme of ‘My Next Chapter’. The diverse art and photography on display takes inspiration from a wide range of sources including nature, public transport, homelessness, faith, family, and beloved pets.

Hestia is the leading provider of modern slavery support in London and the Southeast, and has supported over 2,800 survivors in the last year. The charity has been supporting survivors for over a decade – both in safe houses and in the community.

Survivors supported by Hestia's Modern Slavery Response Service took part in art and photography workshops over the summer, before submitting their best pieces for the exhibition.

Patrick Ryan, Chief Executive of Hestia, said:

“Too many people mistakenly think of modern slavery as something that doesn’t happen here. But it is happening right now in London and across the UK. Our annual Art is Freedom exhibition is a way of improving understanding of modern slavery, while at the same time celebrating the talents and creativity of our amazing survivors. I encourage anyone in the capital to visit the exhibition and to learn more about how we can prevent this brutal crime.”

One of the survivors featured in the exhibition said:

“It has been an unforgettable experience joining in with others to create this exhibition. It’s changed my perspective on life and has given me the opportunity to refine my skills and boost my confidence.”

Modern slavery is a serious crime affecting an estimated 122,000 people across the UK* – but it is a crime that is often hidden. Hestia’s exhibition aims to change perceptions of modern slavery, to enable the British public to recognise that it happens in London and the UK and that anyone can become a victim of criminals.

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail who are hosting the exhibition at Waterloo, London Bridge and Paddington, said:

“I’m proud that we’re exhibiting this lovely artwork across our London stations to mark Anti-Slavery Day. Sadly, today, modern slavery is still very real, so we need to continue to do everything we can to raise awareness and tackle the issue, which includes empowering previous victims and supporting initiatives like this.” 


Cllr Aicha Less, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Public Protection and Licensing at Westminster City Council, who are hosting the exhibition at Trafalgar Square said:

“It’s an appalling truth that modern slavery still exists in London today. The council remains committed to tackling this hidden crime as well as educating our residents on how to spot the signs of victims experiencing modern slavery. I’m so proud that Westminster will be home to several locations where visitors can experience the exhibitions. The artists are completely awe inspiring and the standard of work is incredible.”

Councillor Sarah Addenbrooke from Kensington and Chelsea Council, who are hosting the exhibition at South Kensington station said:

“I am pleased that the Art is Freedom exhibition is back again this year in South Kensington, championing modern slavery survivors’ voices. 

Modern slavery continues to affect communities across London often hidden in plain sight. Kensington and Chelsea Council hopes that by raising awareness through this exhibition, more people will understand the signs of modern slavery and report this hidden crime.”

Find out more about the artists and how to spot the signs of modern slavery at hestia.org/artisfreedom