Inspired by Refugee Week and its theme of Imagine, artists Padma Rao and Miki Z have been working with women from Sangini and FODI.

Sangini is a Sunderland-based, multicultural organisation working to improve women’s lives through educational, creative and participatory activities, while FODI, based in Bridge House, Bridge Street, aims to improve the mental health and well-being of the asylum-seeking and refugee community in Sunderland.

Padma explained: “We asked the question: How do you inspire women to think beyond the pain and distress of Covid 19 and help them to ‘imagine’ a world beyond the lockdown?

“We were inspired by the words of Arundhati Roy and the poem Imagine by Guarionex Delgado

“The themes of ‘peace’, ‘love’ and ‘harmony’ are deeply interlinked to the idea of ‘imagination’ within the context of the current pandemic. Any drawing exercise has to generate a sense of togetherness and confidence among the women who were at the deep end of this pandemic.”

Using this as point of departure, Miki and Padma devised drawing workshops that encouraged women to think about refugees and asylum seekers whilst feeling a sense of relief from the lockdown isolation.

Pictured above is artwork produced at the sessions. On the right, a young artist – Yaksh – from FODI holds a remarkable drawing of the street he has lived on for the past two years.

Miki and Padma’s drawing tutorials can be found here…