Perspectives: The Art of Inclusiveness Beyond Borders

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It was a Saturday afternoon and we had arranged to meet at Communitism, a beautiful formerly abandoned neoclassical building in Metaxourgio, hosting communal events and organizations. This is where Perspectives Art meets every Saturday to create art together, to discuss future plans, and to support each other. In 2016, while volunteering in Lesvos, Caroline Halliday, an artist, curator, and arts organiser from the U.K., realized that when unable to control the basic elements of daily life, people yearn for creative outlet. Perspectives Art came about in 2017, with the support of volunteers working with artists who lived in squats and camps. Its main goal is to support and empower talented people in vulnerable situations to express themselves through art and to sustain themselves through their craft.

What sets this art team apart from many others is its community-oriented and multicultural ethic. By that we mean that the team, the people who both provide and benefit from the collective’s mission, is a mosaic of cultural backgrounds and identities. Some languages you’ll hear if you join one of Perspectives Art’s meetings are English, Farsi, Arabic, Urdu, and Greek. The connecting line between them is art. During our visit we met Mehrdad, a political refugee from Iran who was forced to flee his country and leave his family behind. Upon his arrival to Greece he spent two months in prison because he was not yet issued asylum and during these days his art was all he had; he expressed himself in his diary through sketches and drawings. Sally, another Perspectives Art member came to Greece from Iraq when she was only two years old. Painting, she says, has helped her understand her own identity and self-concept. In her opinion, every being has an artist within them in some way and we should all express this artistic energy we’re hiding if we want to create a peaceful, harmonious world.

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Marije Mutter, a social worker, teacher and cultural anthropologist specializing in migration is the team leader, making sure that Perspectives Art offers a safe space for artists of all sorts to freely express themselves. Some of the mediums used are painting, drawing, photography, jewelry making, handcrafting, and woodworking. Apart from providing a studio and materials, the most significant way through which Perspectives Art empowers its members is by organizing exhibitions where these talented artists can showcase and sell their creations. If you want to attend their next show and support them by purchasing their work, you can find more details here.

After spending some time with them and watching them paint together, we noticed how much love and support can be found in that space. Some knew each other for a long time and found great comfort in meeting every week, both to express their struggles and to figure out their future as artists. None of us being particularly creative ourselves, we were impressed and grateful to realize this group’s greatest strength: compassion. From a humble provision of space grew an inclusive community that works beyond and across borders and stakes its worth on the happiness and involvement of its members.

If you want to help Perspectives Art continue its mission in empowering people through art, consider donating or volunteering with them. You can contact them on Facebook or through email at perspectivesartathens@gmail.com.

To find out more about Communitism, check out their Facebook page.

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