Art gallery for refugees

Carlena Bressanelli, Staff writer

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Art at Mercyhurst has been filled with opportunities, and one opportunity coming up is Artists In Motion: Illustrations of Perilous Journeys.
It is a new exhibit called “Art for Change by Eritrean Refugees.”
The artworks were created by Eritrean refugees as a way of art therapy.
The refugees express their stories through painting, whether those stories deal with loss, traumatic events or traveling with family or friends.
The community’s art teacher, Mebrahtu, encourages them to create artwork about social change.
Many of the painters ran away from different abuses so the only option they have is to live in a camp for a period of time.
In the camp, they are taken care of, but not much is offered to them beyond the camp.
Many refugees are unsure of their future because there are restrictions with working and educational opportunities, but a lot of them will travel in order to reach European countries.
All the artists are different ages, with the youngest being 13 and the oldest being Mebrahtu, 45, who has about five works in the show.
Every painting has a different theme including, but not limited to, love, pain, mourning, migrating and expectations.
“We partnered with Ed Grode, who is formerly with USCRI. He regularly travels to Ethiopia, where these and tens of thousands of refugees are housed,” said Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, Art Department chair.
“He will be returning with goods from Africa to sell at the opening to raise money for the Jesuit Refugee Service that supports the art teacher that goes to the camp.”
So if you are interested in supporting the cause, here is your chance.
The show will run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 22, and the reception will be held Oct. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The Cummings Art Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
There will also be a few videos that can be viewed during the exhibit and photos of the artists with their work.
Staniunas-Hopper is the curator of the show, and questions can be directed to her via email at jstaniunashopper@mercyhurst.edu.

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