BLOG: Layla Assam shares her thoughts on World Art Day 2024

'Iranian diaspora: stories of sanctuary and solidarity'

This World Art Day, Coin Street's Layla Assam has shared her thoughts with us. Layla is a sales and events coordinator for our galleries and reflected on the art she has seen around her recently.

Each year, World Art Day falls on April 15 and is celebrated across the globe. It provides a day for us to consider all of the amazing art around us and helps make us aware of art coming out of areas of the world we might have otherwise missed. Different countries and cultures have their own style and taste, so on World Art Day we're encouraged to explore and enjoy art in all its forms.

A GARDEN OF EXPRESSION: Cultivating Community through Art - Layla Assam

Throughout human history, humans have felt the need to express ourselves through art. From the ceremonial cave paintings of pre-historic times to the hieroglyphs of the ancient Egyptians – human beings, social as we are, find solace in the act of communicating and connecting with each other through creation. 

As spring approaches, I have been noticing art in all my surroundings. On my daily walks through Bernie Spain Gardens, I notice the flowers and the blossom trees. In the kaleidoscope that is the Leake Street tunnel, I see a community of individuals displaying their individuality through graffiti, and of course, in all the fantastic exhibitions we have on at Oxo Tower Wharf! 

A notable exhibition we had at gallery@oxo that really represents this cultivation of community was ‘Iranian diaspora: stories of sanctuary and solidarity’

The exhibition drew attention to the plight of Iranian refugees, and the experience of refugees in general, through a range of mediums. Some works included a large tree installation with branches created by refugees, reflecting our connection to one another, and a replica of a tent from a refugee camp.

What I believed to be so special about this exhibition was that it was organised by individuals who brought together members of the Iranian refugee community to workshops that allowed them to create together, to reflect together, and to have agency over their stories. This is what art is all about to me – to better understand ourselves and each other. 

'Iranian diaspora: stories of sanctuary and solidarity'