With the collaboration of the Welsh Refugee Council- social documentary photographer – Nigel Pugh formulated ‘Creating Sanctuary’, which is a series of new photographic portraits and texts documenting volunteers working with refugees across Wales. Within this project, Nigel, who was born and brought up in Builth Wells, identified human commonalities of purpose, work, security of home, family, friends, community, creativity, camaraderie, healing, sharing loss and grief. The subjects of his work all volunteer their time to work with refugees.
It enabled six volunteers from across Wales to share their story and experience of working with refugees in Wales. The resulting exhibition includes the presentation of photographic portraits, and some quotes from the volunteers in response to a set of questions. Typically, the questions posed were; what was it that brought them to assisting refugees, what reward do they get from volunteering, what have been their struggles, what would you say to your wider community to encourage others to be welcoming, or to work with refugees, what does volunteering bring to the community? One of these volunteers was our own Sean, emeritus Chair of our group and in his inimitable style he participated fully. The results are some stunning portraits and interesting text. The person who volunteered him feels completely vindicated!
Sean’s interview in full can be accessed here.
Another participant, Alan Thomas, is a founder member of Swansea City of Sanctuary and gave us great support when we were forming our group… some fascinating photos and comments can be seen here.
Refugees, whoever they are and regardless of where they are from, have had their basic human requirements wholly or partly removed. ‘Creating Sanctuary’ recognises and illustrates the core human requirements that volunteers, or the ‘sanctuary makers’ are assisting to recreate and reinstate. ‘Creating Sanctuary’ seeks to propagate the aspiration that Wales becomes the first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
The exhibition is being displayed to coincide with Volunteers’ Week and Refugee Week and Nigel’s hope is that the project will encourage others to accept and assist in the integration of refugees in Wales, and lead to increased voluntary action.
When: Open from 31st May until 2nd July
Where: First Floor Gallery Space, Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff
Diffusion: click here.
WMC: click here.