New mural at Easton Community Centre

13 Dec, 2021
Celebrating a new nural at Easton Community Centre. The mural brings together the messages of people who are deaf, disabled and/or seeking asylum.

Learning from Disabled, Deaf and asylum seeking people in Bristol

Last week we celebrated the completion of a new mural at Easton Community Centre by Disability Murals. The new mural at the centre brings together the messages of people in Bristol who are deaf, disabled and/or seeking asylum. Contributors include; people with different impairments, living in a wide range of circumstances, such as homeless asylum seekers, deaf and disabled activists, university students and staff.

People were asked to describe what they would most like others to understand about their current situation. Artist Andrew Bolton and researcher Rebecca Yeo have helped turn these ideas and messages into images, which have been painted by the group.

Disability and Migration: A Mural for Social Change

A film about the mural has been made by Frank Spencer. It brings together the messages and experiences of people who are Deaf, disabled and / or seeking asylum, living in the Bristol area, and explains the rationale for the project.

Description of the mural

The mural is made up of messages from Disabled, Deaf and asylum-seeking people working with artist Andrew Bolton and researcher Rebecca Yeo. For more information and audio description please go to:  http://www.disabilitymurals.org.uk/easton.php

The mural includes 3 rainbows::

  • On the left, a full colour rainbow shows positive visions of how things could be
  • In the middle, a rainbow of faded colours shows things changing for better or worse
  • On the far right, a grey rainbow shows the worst injustices.

Below the colourful rainbow, a wheelchair user sits comfortably, sharing ideas  A chain of interconnected people provide help and services to each other. However, moving to the right, this chain is more fragile. Disabled students explain how response to Covid pulls the chain apart.

People seeking asylum describe the disabling effects of government policy. Under the colourful rainbow, a group of people chat happily.  In the middle, one man from this group leaves his house. On the far right, the same man crouches in a bush with a black hood shading his face. Without food, shelter or hope for the future, he says asylum policy made him ‘lose my mind’. A police officer and a politician stand together ignoring him.

A vase of dead flowers stands in a window.  People with impairments that make it difficult to leave their houses have often been told that it is impossible to join events from home. Yet during Covid lockdown, events from theatre to pub quizzes or university lectures became accessible. One person describes the frustrations of this access being removed again, while she is left seeing the world through her window.

To the right, a woman holds out some coins and watches a bus drive away without her. She describes the shame of having been refused a bus ticket. If buses and shops refuse to take cash, life becomes even harder for asylum seekers and others without bank accounts.

The mural includes 3 cages hanging from the sky:

  1. A wheelchair user is surrounded by confusing information from social and mainstream media.
  2. A deaf person has arms out signing ‘Where?’. In front of her there is a hand with the words, ‘Where is the Interpreter?’.
  3. The final cage has a dead canary, like miners used to warn of gas leaks. This mural warns that urgent action is needed to save lives.

Beyond the grey rainbow, there is a drawing of Kamil Ahmed, a disabled asylum seeker who was murdered in Bristol in 2016. He contributed this image of himself holding his head in despair to a mural in 2012.  We seek to build solidarity in his honour.

Please now go through the mural messages in reverse. None of the injustices are inevitable. How can we extend the colourful rainbow?

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