London, May 23 (IANS) The movement of refugees from Asia and the Middle East to western Europe could boost arts and culture similar to how migration from India and Pakistan transformed Britain’s food tastes, a leading British artist said on Monday.
“Migration, both under the tragic circumstances we are seeing right now and in less challenging situations, has the capacity to diversify a region for the better because artists’ responses to adversity are often those which leave the strongest message,” said professor Bashir Makhoul, deputy vice-chancellor at Birmingham City University, in a statement.
Makhoul is the co-editor of a new book, “Conflict and Compassion”, which highlights how economic arguments overlook the cultural benefits of closer links between western Europe and conflicted countries.
The book was launched at “HOME” — Manchester’s centre for international contemporary art, theatre and film.
“The movement of people from countries like Afghanistan and Syria into Europe is often viewed in economic terms but there are often long lasting and far reaching benefits. Just look at the impact post-war Asian migration has had on the UK’s food scene — it’s been transformative,” Makhoul noted.
According to him, conflict can also be the source of a “need to express, create and innovate”.
“The art and culture which is born out of difficult and challenging situations such as forced migration – actually, expulsion – not only begins to push boundaries but also serve as historical documents which encapsulate and portray an era forever,” Makhoul said.