John is a gay man from Zimbabwe, who recently moved into one of Micro Rainbow’s safe houses. He took part in the Creative Dance, Costume and Film project last weekend in Birmingham, with drag artist Twiggy. This project is part of the ongoing Body and Movement sessions in the Social Inclusion programme.
Read about his experience of the Micro Rainbow event, and the meaning behind his creations:
“As an aspiring artist, I believe that art has the power to tell a story, and I wanted to create an outfit that would carry a powerful message. My inspiration for this outfit was the LGBTQI community – a group that I care deeply about and want to support in any way possible.
“I began by creating a mask that represented the community, painting it in the colours of the rainbow flag and attaching feathers to it. But I also wanted the mask to symbolise something more – the need to protect oneself and the people they love, due to a community that is often not supportive.
“So, I painted one eye black to represent the struggles and challenges that the community faces, and to symbolise the need to stay vigilant and protect oneself. I also painted the mouth black to symbolise how often we are silenced to speak out about our struggles and rights. The feathers on the mask were a reminder of the beauty and diversity of the community and the importance of embracing and celebrating differences.
“Next, I created a creative art t-shirt in a beautiful shade of blue, with floral designs and wings at the ends, symbolising the freedom and beauty of self-expression. The light purple badges that I placed only on the shoulders of the shirt represented authority, confidence, and strength. They were carefully chosen to inspire those who wore them to stand up for themselves and to be proud of who they are.
“The purple line that ran down the centre of the shirt represented a journey, from the top of the shirt where the badges were arranged to show strength and authority, to the bottom where the line symbolised individuality and creativity. It was a reminder that no matter where one may be on their journey, it is important to be true to oneself and embrace one’s uniqueness.
“The mask and shirt together created a powerful statement of support for the LGBTQI community and the need for protection and self-care. As I wore the mask and shirt, I felt a sense of pride and empowerment, knowing that my art had the power to make a difference and inspire others to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.”
Final thoughts from John: “One once said when words fail, art speaks, when art fails, dance speaks. To me, for the past two days, both spoke volumes!! Thank you team Micro Rainbow!”
Help more LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers take part in social inclusion events like this: become a Micro Rainbow ally!