Platforma at Celebrating SanctuaryPosted by S.West on 16th June 2012
The Platforma tent at Sunday’s Celebrating Sanctuary event in Queen Square will be a taste of things to come from St George's Bristol, Platforma's new South West regional hub. There is a line-up of musical talent from Tibet, Zimbabwe and Uganda – and a presentation of art-work created by disabled asylum seekers.
The fun kicks off at 2pm with the trumpet-playing of Ivan Ssempa of Uganda. The musical menu also features Cecilia Ndhlovu at 3pm with traditional Zimbabwean songs on the Nyunga-Nyunga mbira, and at 3.30pm the Tibetan husband and wife singing duo of Tenzin and Tashi Dhondup. But at 2.30pm the visual arts get their turn when disabled asylum seekers discuss their impressive mural in St James Barton.
This recent mural in the ‘Bear Pit’ (above) was co-ordinated by Rebecca Yeo of the UK Disabled Peoples Council (UKDPC). She explains the thinking behind the project: “I have worked with disabled people in many different countries and living in a wide range of different circumstances. Nowhere have I come across greater injustice,” she says, “than that experienced by disabled asylum seekers in this country. But equally nowhere have I come across greater compassion for others!”
The mural is a moving representation of the experience of disabled asylum seekers in the UK. One of the artists drew herself jumping out of a tower block when she sees a police car. “If the police come to my house I will kill myself!” she explains. “I won’t stop to ask what they want; I would rather die than be deported.” Another artist, with no income, no fixed abode, and severe mental health difficulties, explained, “I am given medicine for my mental problems. The doctor says take tablets with food. I have no food. I left Iraq to find safety. But here I starve….. I drew a picture of a sun hidden by a cloud. For me there is no sun.”
The Platforma tent is at Celebrating Sanctuary, a free festival of music and dance in Bristol’s Queen Square from 1.30–6pm on Sunday 17th June. Celebrating Sanctuary is organised by Tribe of Doris, and is part of Bristol’s Refugee Week events.