Bishop’s Guli’s refugee experiences inspire artwork on show


A striking artwork has been hung in Leicester Cathedral ahead of a free exhibition of new work inspired by members of the refugee and asylum-seeking community, including the Bishop of Loughborough.


Created by printmaker George Sfougaras, the exhibition will show multi-layered images drawn from historical and contemporary sources, sharing personal histories and culture, in this case, that of Bishop Guli.


The artwork is on show to all cathedral visitors and was centre stage for this summer’s Dean’s Discussion at Leicester Cathedral with the artist and will remain on display until the end of August. The artwork inspired by Bishop Guli’s story will also all also displayed in the main exhibition at the Lightbox Gallery, LCB Depot, Rutland Street, Leicester, from 10 August (to see more info by clicking here), when an evening opening event it will launch this year’s ArtReach Journeys Festival (details here).


Called RECOVERED HISTORIES, the exhibition and associated events are funded by Arts Council England, Lottery Fund and staged in partnership with ArtReach, Leicester Print Workshop, Leicester Cathedral, New Walk Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and ROOTS (City of Sanctuary Volunteers/participants).


Work with refugee volunteers has also contributed to the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Coming Home’ project which opened in London in June, resulting in a parallel exhibition alongside the portrait of King Richard III. Six banners are now installed at New Walk Museum, Leicester, and will in time move on to Leicester Cathedral, the final resting place of King Richard III.


‘Recovered Histories’ comments on shared human history, addressing change and reconciliation.  Layers of meaning are created through the symbolic use of pattern and light, combined with artwork and archive material from migrant families.

Using the artist’s background, alongside volunteers, including Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani, herself an Iranian refugee, George Sfougaras has developed his artistic practice and given voice to refugees’ experiences. The artwork is designed to reach out to audiences and encourage discussions by creating images that comment on current and past migrations.



Larger copies of the exhibition pieces will be installed in various public spaces across Leicester, bringing art to new audiences and informing new conversations on migration and change. Locations are Leicester Cathedral, Leicester Print Workshop, Curve Theatre, New Parks, Beaumont Leys, St. Barnabas and Westcotes Libraries and the Bright Centre.  In some of the new works lighting and film recount the lives, histories, and hopes of people who have experienced enforced relocation in search of safety.


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