Art For Action at The Island

We recently welcomed Art For Action’s ‘Uprooted’ exhibition of paintings, photographs and films into the Gallery space here at The Island.

We chatted to Rose Illingworth, founder of Art For Action to find out more about her work to help improve the lives of those living in refugee camps through art.

Art For Action works directly in refugee camps, using art as a means to promote positivity. In the next few weeks, they will be working with Lesvos Solidarity on a street art project at one of the camps in Greece. With the help of people within the camps, they transform drab living conditions into a vibrant space that provides the residents with some hope.

The organisation has also built up an expansive network of refugee artists. Through each artist’s method of expression, it gives each of them a chance to express themselves and portray their individual journeys to the wider public through the exposure Art For Action provides. Rose wants the main focus of the organisation to be on the work of the artists. With a constant slew of media coverage bombarding the public with images and statistics, it can be easy to forget what a dehumanising experience life in refugee camps can be.

As well her own paintings, the work of two refugee photographers was on display. One from an Afghanistan and another from Syria. Afghani photographer Abdul Saboor’s stark images serve as a reminder of the conditions refugees find themselves existing in. Abdulazez Dukan’s self-taught digital imagery is a testament to wanting a normal life and his resolve to learn skills in spite of his situation. His story ends well as after much upheaval through escaping Syria, spending a turbulent few months on the Turkish/Syrian border, moving on to spend 10 months in various Greek refugee camps. He has now been granted Asylum in Belgium. Sadly Abdul Saboor is living in transit on the Serbian border.

‘Uprooted’ showcased work produced in Iraq, French and German refugee camps, Colombia, Sri Lanka, The Gambia, Egypt and Tanzania.

As an NGO (non-government organisation) Art For Action funds each project through fundraising and the proceeds of selling each and every painting or photograph. Your contribution makes a huge difference – all of the work that was on display is on sale.

Find out more about Art For Action’s work or donate at