The Refuge Manifesto

This short animated film was made during Art House by the women who came to participate in the art workshops led by artist Nicci Wonnacott and filmmaker Josh Gaunt.

I was interested to uncover what refuge means to different people, and what forms it takes. In this film we find out what refuge means for some of us, and find that these are universal. Accompanying the film is a written Refuge Manifesto, created in the final session of Art House.



We all have a right to refuge.

We have the right to be safe, both externally and internally

We have the right to a space,

a quiet place,

a break from the chaos.

Refuge is essential,

Refuge is the light,

Refuge is peace,

Refuge is being listened to,

Refuge is sharing experiences,

Refuge is compassion.

This poem was written by Bev Samler, a South African printmaker and artist who was involved in the project.

Ammoniteme  by Bev Samler

I return from whence I came – a foetal ammonite

Carapace protection with iron ribs and empty chambers

Would I venture out to be abused?

I am a hollow tube scoured by acid tongues

and flinty fists

I am nothing;  worthless;

I have no mind, no substance, no standing

Reduced to calcified flakes – and yet;

I rise a warrior for I am a woman,

Lifted in strength by wings of amazons

Of long ago

Gone before but now reclaimed,

I hold a shield and sword to defend myself,

And so on to Valhalla.