Giorgos Moutafis for SolidarityNow

Out of Africa, Kongo, Guinea, we are looking to find them on the globe. We do not know much about the Black Continent- only the Sahara Desert and the countries that border the Mediterranean sea. The rest is blood-stained by colonialists, civil strives, coup d’états, poverty and diseases. A war that lasts for many years.. A war that leaves behind thousands of victims and many refugees. How long has it taken for someone to go from Africa to Europe – the so-called Promised Land? “Long”, is the answer of the people who made this trip.

Out of Africa, with the countless indigenous tribes, tropical forests and steppes, rituals and music, clothes, jewelry and tattoos that adorn the bodies of women and men, with the struggles for human rights, with writers, poets, scientists and activists. We got in touch this aspect of Africa through the eyes, narratives, music, poems and paintings of 9 unique indigenous artists. As far as you go, you will always carry in your heart the feeling of returning home.

Through the #ArtIsMyLife project, SolidarityNow re-introduce us 9 artists from Congo and Guinea whose art is their life. Moria, Richard, Teresha, Giselle, Sara, Sami, Momo, Armond and Abdul, talk about their love for poetry, painting, music and writing. Art was and still is their companion throughout this difficult journey. Through art, they profess their pain, their wrath, their fears, and their dreams. Pablo Picasso said that “art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”. For these 9 artists, art has a therapeutic impact on them, it helped them to stand up straight, to try for the best, and dream for the future.

#ArtIsMyLife  remind us of something very important: that in life nothing has a single dimension. Everything has a complement. No one is just a refugee, or an asylum seeker, or a migrant, he/she is always and something else. He/She may be also a great poet, or a painter, or a writer, or a philosopher and musician.

We would like to introduce you these 9 artists. These are their stories.

* Iliaktida as UNHCR’s partner has the management of Volvi Accommodation Scheme, through IATAP.

**The Organisation Internationale De La Francophonie (OIF) finances French language courses for asylum seekers in Athens and Thessaloniki.

***The CFSH program, is implemented by SolidarityNow, supported by UNICEF, with funding from the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO).

****The accommodation program is implemented by SolidarityNow and is part of the ESTIA Support Program for Integration and Housing of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).