The Socially Engaged Art - Studio
In addition to curating exhibitions and events, SEAS is a collaborative platform for creating new social art. We do it through fundraising, commissioning new work, collaborations between SEAS' collective of artists, and sometimes by inviting new artists to collaborate with us. Here are some of the projects we initiated, created and supported.
On November 26th, 2022, SEAS hosted the Social Art Network [SAN] assembly with the SAN's hub leaders from all over the country. Our team and everyone that attended enjoyed seeing the amazing work done by the various hubs and socially engaged artists, discussing future collaborations, and the various challenges social artists face, especially the crisis of art funding in the UK.
After the assembly, there was an informal gathering at the wonderful The Actors Pub, where we launched Queer Photography Zine!
We also invited Rishi Sunak as he dropped by for a visit [well, his cardboard replacement] to hear why funding the arts is vital to artists, communities, and the nation. The small project will be featured on SEAS's website and social media, and the images can be downloaded and sent as holiday greeting cards to Number 10.
Artwork concept: Gil Mualem-Doron
Photography: Pierre-Yves Monnerville
‘Protesting For Diversity’ by Gil Mualem-Doron was a series of workshops, processions and an online campaign for cultural diversity created collectively by various groups in the UK through art workshops, photo shoots and rallies.
The project responded to the huge rise in hate crimes in the UK post-Brexit, the rampant xenophobia in the mainstream media, and the derision politicians level at the importance of cultural diversity.
The project took place at various spaces in Brighton, including ONCA Gallery and The Cowley Club social centre. Then it spread to other cities and festivals in London, Leicester, Portsmouth and Manchester. The workshops and processions were created with groups of refugees in those cities and in collaboration with the Migrants English Project, City of Sanctuary, CARAS and Hazelfest in London, Hummingbird Project, People's History Museum - Manchester, , Art Reach - Journies Festival, and Brighton Dome.
My Pride Heroes (2022)
Commissioned by SEAS , Brighton-based photographer Pierre Monnerville carried out a collaborative photoshoot with people at Brighton Trans Pride and at the Ledward Centre presenting messages they wrote on placards concerning LGBTQAI+ identities, rights and aspirations. The photos then were posted on social media.
SEAS invited Mathilda Della Torre to create an urban intervention in which the Ledward Centre's glass front and our exhibition "News From Nowhere" were blocked out for Refugee Week 2021 with her project Conversations From Calais. The participatory intervention was in collaboration with Sanctuary on Sea, SEAS's artists, friends, and passers-by.
Conversations From Calais is a project that documents conversations between volunteers and migrants in Calais and pastes them on the walls of our cities. It is a way of re-humanising the refugee crisis. We have now shared more than 260 conversations volunteers have submitted. These have been typed out in 12 different languages, printed as posters and pasted up on walls in 60 cities and 5 continents. This ever-growing collection of conversations focuses on capturing the diversity of experiences and moving away from categorising refugees as villains, heroic figures or hopeless victims.
Refugee week should last 365 days a year. This is why, a post-refugee week a group of refugee photographers have come together to challenge stereotypes about people seeking safety, a project curated by the Socially Engaged Art Salon, IMIX and Jemima Compton, a Master’s student from the University of Sussex.
In this exhibition, 8 participants used disposable cameras to take photos on the theme of ‘Giving and Receiving’. The reason for this theme is to explore the importance of reciprocity amongst refugee communities. In the UK, the government’s Hostile Environment policies mean asylum seekers are not allowed to work. This means that their freedoms are restricted and people cannot help but be reliant on state and charitable aid. This feeds narratives that portray migrants as benefit hoarders who get to stay in hotels when the reality
Message In A Bottle(MIAB) is a participatory art project that includes a large interactive room installation, video & audio works, photography and workshops. It was commissioned by the Socially Engaged Art Salon and was created by Jane Lancashire and Gil Mualem-Doron. The project includes also a recorded testimony by Hummingbird Refugee Project's young leader Mohamad Aljasem.
The MIAB project aims to engage participants and audiences with the reality of the continuous deaths of ten of thousands of migrants and refugees in the Meditteranean Sea on their way to sanctuary in Europe.
MIAB was created as a collaborative of around 200 contributors, writing messages of love and solidarity on recycled plastic bottles which were then modified to resemble giant “water droplets” and used as the central components of an immersive room installation.
‘The Activists of Brighton’ by Luisa De la Concha Montes started as a personal attempt to make sense of the summer of 2020 – a historical moment of political turmoil and confusion. A summer that fueled emotions of anger and started conversations about privilege, identity and systemic change.
To translate social media noise into congruent sounds, Luisa held a series of conversations with seven Brighton-based activists. The aim was to exercise silence as a form of resistance and give space (physical, audio-visual and digital) to those with something to say.
y inviting each activist to talk about the tensions between mental health and political work; the goal was to reject the myth of the invincible activist and demonstrate that care and vulnerability should be at the heart of political change.
“Doing it for Ourselves” by Pierre-Yves Monnerville is an ongoing photographic project paying tribute to QTIPOC individuals helping the larger community. It’s also meant as a message of hope.As bad as current events are looking now, these people overcame remarkable adversity so I find their achievements
and legacy inspiring and motivating to keep going regardless of what’s happening in the world . The work consists of a series of portraits and short interviews where each person answers the same three questions:
1. What made you start?
2. How much change have you noticed since you’ve started?
3. What’s next for you and/or your initiative?
‘somewhere’ is the result of an altered commission from “A seat at the table” . This was initially planned as an exhibition during Brighton Festival 2020, incorporating the texts as an artist’s book and a new installation work by Gil Mualem Doron, artist and SEAS’s Director. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the exhibition became digital after some creative brainstorming.
‘somewhere’ is a series of one-minute, experimental films Amidu created using a mobile phone, and then overlaid with recitals by the artists invited to “A seat at the table”. The original texts, written by Maria, are also featured below. For more information on the artists, you can visit the exhibition.
‘somewhere’ is a testament to the stories told during “A seat at the table”, by artists with migrant and refugee backgrounds and speaks to the troublesome, contingent and precarious nature of being from elsewhere.
Contributing artists included: Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez /Gil Mualem Doron / Edi Jay Mandala / Estabrak / Hong Dam / Maria Amidu / Tugba Tirpan