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Majid Dhana & Natalia Michalska confirmed for Look Up at Journeys Festival International, Portsm

Natalia and Majid with their local refugee group in Portsmouth

Journeys Festival International is excited to bring its high impact outdoor exhibition ‘Look Up’ back to Portsmouth as part of the 2017 festival programme. An outdoor exhibition installed on the exterior of prominent buildings around the city, Look Up provides a unique opportunity for artists engaging with refugee and asylum seeker themes to have their work shown in one of the most visible strands of Journeys Festival International.

Last year, Portsmouth was pleased to receive the work of Nikos Papadopolous, with eye catching Playmobil inspired scenes of refugees and asylum seekers seen on iconic buildings throughout the city. This year the Festival is bringing the work of Natalia Michalska and Majid Dhana, two locally based artists, to the forefront of Portsmouth’s skyline.

Zimbabwean artist and poet Majid Dhana has worked with the British Red Cross in Portsmouth for nearly four years, building relationships with the refugee and asylum seeker community and enabling their stories to be heard through a creative output. Working with support groups like the Young Refugee Project, Majid has developed an artistic practice that puts the struggles and strengths of these communities at its core.

Originally from Poland, Natalia Michalska worked to develop her artistic practice in Munich, before settling in Portsmouth in 2014. Since then Natalia has worked with many of the area’s most vibrant cultural institutions including Aspex Gallery, University of Portsmouth, and Live Art Local. Her practice focuses on storytelling and human relationships on a global level.

Majid and Natalia first came to work together through their love of spoken word and performance. They have since collaborated to create a successful series of workshops engaging with the local refugee and asylum seeker community. For Journeys Festival International Portsmouth, Majid and Natalia will work with their established community network to formulate a series of creative portraits of local refugee and asylum seekers, to be installed across the city for the duration of the festival.

As part of this year’s Look Up, we’re thrilled to announce that both artists have also been offered a 6 week residency and 6 week exhibition with Aspex Gallery, opening on the 19th October featuring a live Q&A with Natalia and Majid. They will also each lead an Art Walk during Journeys Festival International, a chance to hear directly from the artists about their practice. Tony Spencer, Exhibition & Gallery Manager at Aspex Gallery had this to say about the project:

"“Look Up transforms the City of Portsmouth, creating an enriching portrayal and celebration of cultural diversity. The local artists, who exhibit their projects not only make us conscious of the scale and impact of a global refugee crisis, they also remind us of relevant situations concerning those who are displaced and the impact of our compassionate support.”

Find out more information on Majid's work here and visit Natalia's website here.

Journeys Festival Portsmouth runs from 19th – 29th October, with events taking a place across the whole city. See our website: for more details of all our upcoming events!

19th Oct – 29th Oct 2017

#JFIPort // @JourneysFest

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