21st Jul, 2018

ISIS survivors art exhibition launched by Meriden MP

Sarah Mason 12th Apr, 2018

AN ART exhibition featuring portraits of ISIS survivors was launched by Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman in Westminister.

Hannah Rose Thomas’ exhibition titled ‘Yezidi Women: ISIS Survivors’ featured self-portraits of Yezidi women who are dealing with immense trauma after escaping the self-proclaimed Islamic State, alongside Hannah’s portraits of them.

They were painted last summer when Ms Thomas and clinical psychologist Dr Sarah Whittaker-Howe travelled to northern Iraq.

MsThomas said: “Art can be used as a powerful tool for advocacy and to give a voice to the voiceless.

“Teaching the Yezidi women to paint their self-portraits has enabled those, who have never been to school or learned to read and write, to share their stories with the rest of the world.

“Testimony is an important element of the recovery process post-torture and sexual violence.

“These paintings are a testament to the strength, dignity and unimaginable grief of the Yezidi women, many of whom still have children in ISIS captivity.”

The exhibition was attended by Alistair Burt MP the Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Ahmed the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, BBC journalist Fiona Bruce, and Julian Knight, MP for Solihull.

Dame Caroline said: “In March 2016 I met with a delegation of Yezidi women in parliament, ever since hearing their traumatic accounts first hand I’ve been keen to advocate on their behalf and assist in giving them a platform to voice their stories.

“It’s critically important that we reach these women with further assistance, including greater targeted financial support.

“They, along with Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, continue to face daily discrimination and huge challenges as they seek to reintegrate back into their local communities.”

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