Razieh, one of our international guests, has two exhibitions at this month’s Refugee Festival Scotland. One will be at St Georges Tron Church of Scotland and one at Kelvingrove Art Gallery.
She says, “In Iran I was an art teacher in an art gallery and a school. I love teaching. I think if I can’t teach others – when I die my art dies with me. If I teach, others can continue my art.”
Razieh arrived in Glasgow eight months ago from Iran. She says, “I had many problems in Iran and me and my children can’t go back there. It is very dangerous for me.” She asked her mum to send her the paintings and photographs she had spent the last 13 years creating.
“The mission helps me a lot for English and understanding art,” she says. Razieh comes to the brunch and English classes we run at Glasgow City Mission every Thursday and to our art class on a Friday. “I’m very glad to come here. Helen [project worker] and Emily [volunteer] help me a lot. Helen told me where to get frames, I didn’t know where to go.”
Helen says, “Razieh is a great example of a skilled and experienced professional who, given the chance, will thrive in her new city of Glasgow. These exhibitions will give Razieh the exposure that she needs to showcase her art. Refugee Festival Scotland highlights the wealth of talent, diversity and experience that people who are refugees or seeking asylum bring to our communities and the ways in which this benefits us all.”
If Razieh is able to sell paintings at the exhibitions, she hopes she can buy art materials and a camera and rent some studio space so she can continue painting here. She also wants to be able to teach and to help others. She says, “When we came here we were very lonely and could not speak English. But people in Glasgow are very friendly. At school, the teachers and students helped my children. I want to stay in this city and help people. In August I will start teaching art to disabled people. I am hoping I can teach the women here [at Glasgow City Mission] to draw and paint.”
Refugee Festival Scotland
Razieh’s paintings will be on display at St George’s Tron Church of Scotland from 17 – 21 June, 10am – 4.30pm. She also has an exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery on 28 June.
Marzieh and Nastaram are also guests at Glasgow City Mission. They are part of Musicians in Exile which is performing at the festival on 30 June. Visit Eventbrite for more details and to book tickets.
Refugee Festival Scotland celebrates the contribution refugee communities make to life in Scotland – the food and drink, music and poetry, art, languages and ideas that people bring with them when they seek safety here. View the full programme. It runs from 20 – 30 June 2019. It is produced and coordinated by Scottish Refugee Council.