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From Pablo Allison's The Light of the Beast exhibition.

Up with the Migrants: from Pablo Allison’s The Light of the Beast exhibition.

Central Americans take the train in search for a new life

The creative cafe and gallery OPEN is hosting an exhibition of photos by Pablo Allison on Central American migrants taking the train in their quest to reach the US. Nick Terdre reports.

Entitled The Light of The Beast, the show throws light on the perilous journey undertaken by would-be migrants to the US on La Bestia, (the Beast), a freight train which carries goods between Mexico, the US and Canada.

As most people who leave their countries travel with no money, La Bestia represents the only way to get to the US border, despite this being forbidden by Mexican authorities.

“This journey is tough and it can be extremely dangerous for people to travel this way, for a number of reasons,” says Allison, a British/Mexican artist. “These travellers, often referred to as migrants, run a high chance of being kidnapped, mugged, extorted or ending up dead in the desert before they reach their destination.

“I decided to do this journey to follow Central American migrants en route to the hope of a ‘better, more peaceful’ life.”

He has been working on The Light of The Beast since 2017. The exhibition includes images which are on display for the first time.

At 4pm on Sunday 15 September the artist will take part in a Q&A at OPEN.

Born in Manchester and raised in Mexico City, Allison returned to the UK where he completed a degree in documentary photography between the London College of Communication and the University of Wales, Newport.

His work, which explores ideas such as control, reclusion, displacement, freedom, entrapment and migration, has been exhibited at the Greater London Authority headquarters and Photomonth in London, the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, Look12 Photography Festival in Liverpool, the Instituto Cervantes in Manchester and the Centro Cultural España in Mexico City.

His project Uncovering the Invisible was shown at Unesco headquarters in Paris. His images have been published by The Huffington Post, National Geographic, TeleSur, Vice Magazine, El Pais and Juxtapoz, and he has worked with NGOs such as Amnesty International and ActionAid.

Located on the sea front in St Leonards, OPEN creative cafe and gallery is a community space launched in May 2019 and run by volunteers from Hastings & Rother Refugee Buddy Project, both arriving families and their buddies. It functions as a café Thursdays to Saturdays and is used as a workshop space the rest of the week.

Set up in 2017, Buddy Project invites local volunteers from Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill to offer help of various kinds to the Syrian families entering our community through the Syrian Resettlement Project. Currently supporting over 20 families, Buddies are there for all the everyday activities that any family starting a new life in a new country might need help with.

The exhibition has been mounted by the Buddy Project in collaboration with Stella Dore.

The Light of the Beast Exhibition of photos by Pablo Allison. 10.30am to 4pm, daily to Saturday 14 September. OPEN creative cafe and gallery, 19 Grand Parade, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6DN. If you wish to attend the Q&A on Sunday 15 September at 4pm, please notify OPEN on so that they  are aware of numbers.


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Posted 15:17 Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 In: Photography

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