COMMONSpace: a newly designed area at GoMA to showcase community collaborations and projects.

You may have already come across COMMONSpace – the new community exhibition space at GoMA, located at the rear of Gallery 2. COMMONSpace emerged out of conversations with people we were working with and our interest in a platform for learning and dialogue, as well as a space for sharing the creative outcomes of these conversations.

The first project is called “Sawti”, meaning “my voice” in Arabic and you have until the end of Sunday 1 December to catch the exhibition in GoMA. It is the result of a collaboration between Mental Health Foundation Scotland and groups of refugee and asylum seeking women. Sawti: my voice aims to raise awareness of mental health issues among women going through the asylum process in the UK.

The women in the group have produced a collection of diverse works, all displayed in our space. These include a poetry publication, “You Are the Light”, written in collaboration with poet Leyla Josephine; a series of screen prints, made by participants at Saheliya Glasgow with the Glasgow Print Studio; and a silk wall hanging, made within the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit. The exhibition also includes a documentary screening, which explores the experiences of three women seeking asylum in Glasgow, made by Felipe Bustos Sierra through his award-winning film production company Debasers Filums.

These artworks were created during a series of workshops with the different groups involved. All sessions were designed to empower participants and increase their wellbeing through practical arts activities. They focused on concepts of mental wellbeing and recovery, causation, stigma, fear and help seeking. The artworks reflect the individual support systems, hopes, passions and aspirations of the participants.

We are looking forward to this exhibition space developing with a changing programme of shows. Each exhibition will focus on different themes, working with a variety of partners across the city.

All exhibitions are co-created and/or co-curated with local partners who are expert in the issues raised, including the impacted community, service providers, and artists. As such, displays are devised, created, and designed with, and by, individuals from different professional backgrounds. We believe that through these exhibitions we can celebrate the power of creativity, demonstrating the potential for art to open new ways of looking at different experiences. We also hope that these displays can help create a safe space for visitors to learn and connect around tough issues and to get positively involved.

The exhibition programme will continue with

Everyday racism – 5 December 2019 – 26 January 2020

Glasgow Association for Mental Health – 6 February – 29 March 2020

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