Exhibition “ArtIsMyLife”


#ArtIsMyLife project | Conference Room, University of Macedonia (July 24-27, open during conference hours)
Artists: Richard Lisakumunu, Momo Pembi,  Zahra Vazifehshenas 

Through the #ArtIsMyLife project, SolidarityNow introduces us 3 artists from Iran and Congo (1 woman and 2 men), whose art is their life. For Zahra, Richard and Momo, Art was and remained their companion throughout their difficult journey. Through art they confess 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 3 artists, Art has acted therapeutically on them; it helped them stand up straight, to try for the best, and dream for a better future.  

#ArtIsMyLife wants to remind us something very important, that in this 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 3 artists.

Richard Lisakumunu | Richard comes from Kinshasa, Congo and he is only 24 years old. He is living in Greece for the past two years. He has studied and worked as a painter. He has participated in many art exhibitions in Congo, as well as in France, where he won the 2nd prize as a new artist, among 53 participants. In Kinshasa he had his own atelier. “Painting is in my blood. I do not have to make any effort; it comes naturally”, he says. Richard is a figurative artist. His paintings are inspired by society, by how people live, the difficulties they are experiencing, but also by his own life.

Momo Pembi | Momo is 26 years old, and he is coming from Congo. He has been living in Greece for 1,5 years. He has studied Mass Communications, he had his own rap band, he worked as a graphic designer, he is a video maker, he paints and designs his own clothes. He started painting in Greece. He began making sketches. He created the portraits of his friends, he made the logo of Umoja -the Forum that was created by the Congolese community when they were living in Volvi Accommodation Scheme- and he made his tribes’ masks. “Painting is a way of expressing myself. When I have an idea, I have a strong inner need to express it”, he states. His life, his experiences, are the source of his inspiration.

Zahra Vazifehshenas | Zahra, 35, comes from Tehran, Iran. She has studied Fine Arts and she has worked as an art teacher for 9 years. She has been in Greece for the last 2,5 years. She works with oil-pastel, dry pastel, oil and acrylic colors but her favorite is carbon pencil. She enjoys trying out new artistic styles and techniques. She has participated in 3 exhibitions so far in Greece alongside with Greek and refugee artists. “When I am creating art, I feel peaceful and calm”, says Zahra.

Rishard, Momo and Zachra are beneficiaries of SolidarityNow’s programs. Our teams supported and helped them not to abandon their love for Art.

*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).

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

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

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