Anti-hate crime message at heart of exhibition

Published Wednesday, 27th July 2016
Love is Louder
Artworks on display at the Love is Louder exhibition

Anti-hate crime messages are at the forefront of an art exhibition being hosted by the “Love is Louder” campaign in Rotherham.

Art pieces have been developed with local community groups including: Friends of Thornhill, Lifeline Rotherham, The Rainbow Project, Rush House, Nayi Zindagi, Speakup and United 4 Communities, working with local artists such as Affix, Bambu Forest, The Button Tin, Sometimes 3 and Alice and the Crows.

The art currently on display at the Coterie Gallery, in Rotherham’s Riverside Precinct includes: photography, a short film, interactive pieces and hand-embroidered textiles. The artworks were created to support understanding towards the impact of hate and discrimination and work together to challenge hate crime.

Also on display are a series of hate crime “zines” – magazine style booklets which focus on topics including: disability; lesbian, gay, bisexual and Trans (LGBT) issues; race and religion. The zines were produced with the help of local community organisations and groups, including Speakup Self Advocacy, Lifeline, The Rainbow Project, Love is Louder partners and the Our Voices advocates.

Emma Sharp, of Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance (REMA), co-ordinated the zines project. She said that the zines encouraged people to report hate crimes as well as raising awareness of how it impacts on local people and communities.

She said: “The self-published, not-for-profit publications include images, text, poetry and art, plus stories and thoughts about people’s experiences, culture and identity. 

“The zines will be made available in print version and on-line for community groups to use to raise awareness of the important issue of hate crime.”

Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Lyndsay Pitchley, who attended a celebration event at the gallery this week, said: “I’m delighted to have been involved in the Love is Louder project. It promotes a sense of togetherness and - as its title suggests - sends the message loud and clear that Rotherham is a town united against hate and prejudice.

“It’s wonderful to see art used in this exciting way to break down barriers, bring everyone together and celebrate that which unites us, rather than intolerance, hate and negativity. 

“I hope that the messages from Love is Louder can inspire us all to continue stand together against the divisive forces of hatred and intolerance.”

Also on display at the gallery is artwork developed by young people from the local community and from Our Voice – Women Facing Racism. The exhibition continues at the Coterie Gallery until Saturday 30 July (opening hours 9am - 5pm).

Love is louder is a pro-love anti-hate movement run by Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance (REMA), which aims to bring people together that would not usually connect in everyday life.

Love is Louder and Our Voices projects are working to combat hate crime and challenge stereotypes in Rotherham. Our Voices is funded by Safer Rotherham Partnership and is made up of female volunteers who act as advocates for people who have experienced hate crime.

The hate crime 'zines' project was supported by Rotherham Council’s Community Safety and Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Unit to produce hate crime learning resources designed for the community by the community.

The Coterie Gallery has supported the Love is Louder project by proving exhibition space free of charge and supporting the celebration event on Wednesday.

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