London artist reflects with JRS on migrants' sea dangers

London artist Lucy Wood sailed 4,000 miles solo in a North African migrant boat from the southern Italian island of Lampedusa to London Docks, as a gesture of solidarity with the hundreds of refugees who risk a similar journey in search of a better life. This month, she is inviting those who shared her sense of shock at the events of last September, when around 360 people died when their boat sank off the Mediterranean island, to join in a time of reflection organised in association with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

“At the end of last year, migrant deaths at sea were in the headlines, as we witnessed the ongoing tragedy of lives lost off the coast of North Africa,” says Sr Margaret Baxter from JRS-UK. “We also heard the words of Pope Francis at Lampedusa, calling us out of our indifference to the suffering of people journeying in search of a better life. Lucy is an artist who works with migration themes; she undertook a solo voyage to highlight the deaths of migrants at sea. I joined her on the final part of this journey on a migrant boat to help raise the profile of the suffering of migrants in parliament and in the media. And now she’s invited friends of JRS – which is an organisation that works hard to support individuals who come here for safety – to gather at this boat for a time of reflection.”

The boat which Lucy Wood sailed from Lampedusa to London - named To6411 (pictured here) - is now moored at Surrey Docks marina, just across the River Thames from the JRS office in Wapping. The time of reflection on the boat with her and members of the JRS-UK team will take place on Sunday 30 March 2014 between 3pm and 4pm. It will be followed by a discussion in the Ship and Whale pub.

“We hope that meeting together in this way and hearing about Lucy’s experience will provide a chance for us to pause for solidarity and space to place a fresh perspective on the work we do and the need s of the people we support,” says Sr Margaret.

To find out more or to make a donation to JRS-UK, contact Kate Monkhouse on 020 7488 7310 or email jrsfundraiser@gmail.com

For more about Lucy Wood’s voyage aboard To6411 and her campaign on behalf of migrants, see http://lucywood.net/