Ex­hi­bi­tion puts art by for­mer refugees on show


‘‘When I see bare walls, I want to put pic­tures on them.’’

There are so many paint­ings in Pene­lope Trought’s home that she could hold an ex­hi­bi­tion – so she’s do­ing just that.

The dozens of paint­ings scat­tered around her spare bed­room have been cre­ated by for­mer refugees who she has been teach­ing to paint and will be on show on Oc­to­ber 14 in an ex­hi­bi­tion in Lower Hutt.

Trought started the pro­gramme for for­mer refugees to link them with each other and with other parts of the com­mu­nity.

She has been a Red Cross vol­un­teer for 12 years and be­gan the paint­ing pro­gramme from her house in Lower Hutt last No­vem­ber af­ter help­ing for­mer refugees set up their homes.

She no­ticed many didn’t have any­thing to brighten up the of­ten drab walls of their new homes and de­cided some­thing needed to be done about it.

‘‘When I see bare walls, I want to put pic­tures on them.’’

Abra­ham and Layla Javid are for­mer refugees from Afghanistan and had never painted be­fore they came to New Zealand.

Hav­ing done a paint­ing each they were now look­ing for­ward put­ting brush to can­vas again.

They said it was a ‘‘re­lax­ing’’ ex­pe­ri­ence and were keen to put more art on their walls.

‘‘The next one will be big­ger and bet­ter,’’ Layla Javid said.

Sup­port for the project came from the Hutt City Coun­cil’s Creative Com­mu­ni­ties Fund which had en­abled Trought to pro­vide paint and other ma­te­ri­als.

She has now hosted more than 30 peo­ple of all ages and abil­i­ties from around the world at her paint­ing ses­sions. Peo­ple from Columbia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Syria and Myan­mar have all sat around her din­ing room ta­ble to cre­ate their art­works.

‘‘Any­one can join in. It’s not art ther­apy, most peo­ple just want some­thing beau­ti­ful on their walls.’’

Trought planned on ap­ply­ing for the the lat­est round of fund­ing to con­tinue the project.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will be held at the Hutt City Bap­tist Church on High St on Sat­ur­day, Oc­to­ber 14. At­ten­dees are en­cour­aged to bring a plate for a shared din­ner at 5.30pm and speeches will be­gin around 7pm.


Layla and Abra­ham Javid had never painted be­fore and en­joyed learn­ing how. Left, Pene­lope Trought has been run­ning the pro­gramme to teach for­mer refugees how to paint.

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