Hestia’s Art Is Freedom exhibition set to return for fourth year in a row

The Art Is Freedom exhibition showcases photography and artwork created by survivors of modern slavery

Hestia’s Art Is Freedom exhibition, which features photography and artwork created by survivors of modern slavery, is set to return for the fourth year in a row.

The exhibition will be held in person for the first time since 2019, after the pandemic led to 2020’s exhibition taking place online.

It will open to the public on Monday 18 October, International Anti-Slavery Day, in central London’s Paternoster Square, just behind St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Visitors will be able to take a look at the artwork throughout the week, with the exhibition closing on Monday 25 October.

Art Is Freedom 2021 will feature all-new photography captured by survivors of modern slavery, reflecting what life is like for them as they settle into life in a new community here in London.

The exhibition will also include other artwork such as paintings, enabling survivors to express their recovery journey through multiple creative outlets.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to speak to members of our Modern Slavery Response team to learn more about modern slavery, including its prevalence in London and the UK and how to spot the signs.

The people supported by our Modern Slavery Response service and their advocates have said that the art workshops, where much of the artwork and photography are captured, form an important part of survivors' recovery.

The workshops enable social interaction which helps to decrease isolation, and provide a medium to express creativity and process their experiences. Research has also shown that taking part in creative activities can help to boost well-being.

Speaking about their experience taking part in the exhibition, Isaac*, said: "Taking part in Hestia’s Art Is Freedom workshops and trying photography has really helped. Meeting people and doing things with others helped control my anxiety. The friends I made gave me advice on how to cope and it was a release; it stopped me thinking about what happened to me."

Before Art Is Freedom 2021 opens, we’re taking a look back at some of the photography and artwork created by survivors for previous exhibitions.

Photos captured for the first ever annual Art Is Freedom exhibition, which took place at the Anise Gallery near Tower Bridge in 2018.

A painting created by a survivor of modern slavery for the 2018 Art Is Freedom exhibition

Photos taken by survivors for the 2019 Art Is Freedom exhibition, which took place on International Anti-Slavery Day at London Bridge station.

2020's exhibition took place virtually, but the people supported by our modern slavery response service were still able to get out and about and capture some fabulous photography