Local communities were out in force over the weekend as Journeys Festival International Portsmouth drew to a close with two days of free world music performances at St Mary’s Church, Fratton. Thousands of people across the city enjoyed the delights of the third annual Festival, produced by ArtReach, which promotes, celebrates and explores refugee experiences through great art.
For the last ten days people in Pompey have been able to explore a huge variety of art, from exhibitions in Portsmouth Cathedral and St Mary’s Church to a free theatre performance at Portsmouth Guildhall, creative workshops were held at Aspex Gallery whilst the University of Portsmouth hosted an exhibition and virtual reality tour of a paper model based on a Future Aleppo.
An important part of the Festival is to offer opportunities for discussion on issues surrounding migration and these were well attended at several locations across the city, with the British Red Cross Awareness Session at the University proving very popular indeed.
A somewhat surprising element of the Festival was Look Up: Searching for Home, the digital art work from local artist, Svetlana Ochkovskaya, which was shown on several big screens across the city including the big screen at Fratton Park during the home game vs Burton Albion. Pompey fans were treated to a pre-match warm up that included a screening of this incredible digital exhibition. Though that’s not all, several screenings formed part of the Festival as audiences were treated to the UK’s second only showing of Soufra, a film about a catering company created in a refugee camp.
Whilst the Weekender, the final two days of the Festival witnessed huge support for the Creating Communities Procession, featuring local community creations paraded through the streets of Fratton.
There was also a lively line-up of music performances, for free, at St Mary’s Church in Fratton, as Portsmouth musicians played alongside professional musicians from as far and wide as Syria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Burundi. All in all, with such a huge variety of arts to engage with, conversations had, awareness raised and some incredibly enjoyable moments for all, we can only say that the third installation of Journeys Festival International Portsmouth was delivered with resounding success.
Journeys Festival International Portsmouth is funded by Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, ISD, University of Portsmouth, Film Hub South West, Hornpipe Arts for Schools, Ernest Cook Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.