Organisations

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland Board meets artists from the Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme (MARRS) at The Duncairn Arts Centre

5th May, 2023

Musicians and artists from Iran, Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan recently had the opportunity to meet and share their talents with members of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Board at the Duncairn Arts Centre in North Belfast.

Ali Lid, Somalian musician, Seba Baroum, Syrian visual artist and teacher, Karly Greene, Arts Council NI Director of Strategic Development & Partnerships, Liam Hannaway, Arts Council NI Chair, Roisin McDonough, Arts Council NI Chief Executive, Darren Ferguson, Chief Executive of Beyond Skin, Fatima Sarwari, Afghanistan Poet and Co-Founder of Alghochak Afghan Association NI and Shiva, Iranian musician and music teacher.
Pictured (L-R) are, Ali Lid, Somalian musician, Seba Baroum, Syrian visual artist and teacher, Karly Greene, Arts Council NI Director of Strategic Development & Partnerships, Liam Hannaway, Arts Council NI Chair, Roisin McDonough, Arts Council NI Chief Executive, Darren Ferguson, Chief Executive of Beyond Skin, Fatima Sarwari, Afghanistan Poet and Co-Founder of Alghochak Afghan Association NI and Shiva, Iranian musician and music teacher.

The artists are part of the Musicians Artists at Risk Resettlement Scheme (MARRS), a programme established in 2021 by Beyond Skin with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the wider arts, business, and community sectors, which aims to protect artists in Afghanistan who are facing severe threats. Since its establishment however, artists in asylum seeking and refugee status from other countries began reaching out to Beyond Skin for support and MARRS was extended to help people from many other countries.

To date MARRS has supported over 200 adults & children, including professional and amateur artists as-well as those who wish to get involved in creative activities to improve their mental health, language skills or simply to meet and collaborate with different communities. A Guitar Club was created by Iranian musician and music teacher, Shiva, and guitar technician, Leif Bodnarchuk, with support from musician, Paul Kane, at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast. Over 150 guitars have been donated to the club thanks to the generosity of the NI public.

Darren Ferguson, Chief Executive, at Beyond Skin, said, 

“We were delighted to meet some of the Arts Council Board at their recent Board meeting at the Duncairn. The arts is the most  effective bridge builder, educator, and healer. People come to our shores seeking safety, bringing their skills, and from what I have seen, a treasure chest of gifts that boosts our creative industries and economy whilst assisting the health of individuals and communities. MARRS is a team effort in the spirit of togetherness and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been a vital part of that team."

Liam Hannaway, Chair at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, 

“The Board and I were thrilled to welcome Shiva, Ali Lid, Seba Barhoum and Fatima Sarwari to the Duncairn Arts Centre where they able to talk to us about their lives, their art and how they are settling into life here. We know that taking part in arts activities improves health and wellbeing outcomes and brings people and communities closer together. MARRS is a vital lifeline to these artists who are facing incredibly difficult circumstances and the Arts Council is proud to support Beyond Skin with this important work.”

To find out more about MARRS and the work of Beyond Skin visit www.beyondskin.net