On 5 May 2022, the Department of War Studies and the Migration Research Group, chaired by Dr. Leonie Ansems de Vries, celebrated the ongoing collaboration between King’s College London and Anna Virabyan, an Armenian artist and refugee.
Nearly two years ago, Anna donated a painting to the Department of War Studies in recognition of the confidence and sense of belonging she has gained through her work with the Migration Research Group and King’s Student Action for Refugees. At this event, the painting was finally handed over physically to Prof. Mike Goodman, Head of the Department of War Studies.
Anna painted the artwork as part of a collaborative research piece that she worked on with Dr. Ansems de Vries. The watercolour, which was the third Art Cabinet piece that Anna created for this interdisciplinary research project, was captured using an alla prima technique.
During the event, participants had the chance to reflect on how creative expression and collaboration can support well-being, especially for forced migrants. The audience also had the chance to take part in an art expression workshop. Anna has previously facilitated art workshops at King’s to help others express themselves and overcome challenges they face.
To learn more about Anna’s artwork and life experience, a short film was produced that captures conversations, visuals and narratives around violence, political struggle, and art as political intervention.