The focus on asylum seeker in the direct provision (DP) system in Ireland has focused understandably on the processing delays, the boredom and the restricted system. However, a group of such applicants,, assisted by artist and arts administrator, Fiona Delaney, showed the way to overcome these limits and empower both the asylum seekers and their sense of identity and culture. The project, entitled Sew Much Times, was created some years ago but is still trucking along – as is the DP system.

This story from the immigrant newspaper, Metro Eireann, explains

A sewing club comprised of asylum seekers has formed in Dublin – and their work is being exhibited at venues in Clondalkin and the city centre.

The Sew Much Time exhibition is the brainchild of artist Fiona Delaney, who began working with a group at the Clondalkin Towers asylum seeker hostel two years ago.

She told Metro Éireann that the residents told her they wanted to engage in artistic activities with practical results, and a sewing club was formed. It has around 40 members who’ve honed their skills making items such as baby blankets and progressing to designing and making their own clothing.

“It’s amazing how far people have come,” said Delaney, who explained that some of the members – mostly women from Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe – had been in the asylum system for five or six years and found sewing “a big release in terms of imagination and creativity”.

There are four sewing machines which members can access, she said, adding that some members planned to make items to commemorate a baby’s birth or for a loved one back in their home country, giving them “the perfect reason” to hone and develop their skills.

The Sew Much Time exhibition features items made by sewing club members as well as pieces by Delaney inspired by her time with the group. She has also made an accompanying short film.
The artist’s work was supported by South Dublin County Council, with further funding from Clondalkin Partnership and the Arts Council.

Items from the exhibition are running in multiple locations, namely the Pallas Projects in the city centre as well as the intercultural centre, civic office and Clondalkin Towers hostel in Clondalkin village.
For further information visit sewmuchtime.wordpress.com

Irish Daily Mail article on the project:


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