My journey to starting PAYANAM
An art group run by the Helen Bamber Foundation helped me to overcome/heal my trauma that changed my life into a positive one. My name is Ravi, a refugee & a torture survivor. I was suspected, arrested and tortured multiple times for acting against the government by my former country. I was suffering from PTSD from the torture. Now, I'm an artist, mentor and the founder of PAYANAM.
Using art to heal trauma
We want to help refugees and asylum seekers to heal/overcome their trauma by creating artworks. We want to teach, train and show refugees how to create various artworks such as photography, painting, stone carving, pottery etc. We want the artists to tell their stories through their unique artworks. We want to display refugee artworks. We want to sell refugee artworks to support artists financially. We want to empower refugees to share journey stories in a way that others can feel them.
Why this is important
In 2018, when I was granted refugee status, according to UNHCR report, there were 126,720 refugees, 45,244 asylum cases & 125 stateless persons. These numbers have been rising massively in the last 3 years. It becomes more important to help them to heal their trauma using art.
We believe all the asylum seekers and refugees are having trauma from the war zones that they fled or the bad memories of human trafficking or getting suppressed by their former countries or the scary experience of crossing the channel without safety measures and facing difficulties with the current inhuman asylum system & application processes.
Anxiety and trauma lead them to isolation, hopelessness and make them weak and also make them feel fear and worried about everything. This affects the person and their family's daily life in a new country and new language that they barely understand. Even in an emergency, they fear and are doubtful to get support because it is really hard to trust anyone. Sometimes they don’t know how to get support with the language barrier.
It is important to show them or train them in new experiences and interests. Creating art and sharing their journeys can help to overcome and heal their trauma.
How we can make this happen
- We are planning to run weekly art groups and workshops for refugees and asylum seekers
- Together in groups, we will teach them how to tell their stories through art and how to produce their own work
- We will run exhibitions showcasing their artwork both online and in venues in London
- We will create a platform to promote and sell products created by our refugee artists