“For survivors of human rights violations, everyday verbal language is inadequate to convey the depth of the trauma and the emotions that they have experienced. The (visual) Arts provide a new powerful tool for them to communicate where words fail.”
UK-based Painter & Humanitarian
Hannah Rose Thomas is an English artist and Durham graduate in Arabic and History, with an MA from the Prince's School of Traditional Art in London. Hannah is currently studying her PhD at Glasgow University as a UNESCO and MIDEQ Scholar.
While living in Jordan as an Arabic student in 2014, Hannah organized art projects with Syrian refugees for UNHCR. This experience led her to seek ways to combine her art and humanitarian work. Hannah subsequently began painting portraits of refugees she had met, to show the people behind the global crisis, whose personal stories are often shrouded by statistics.
In August 2017 Hannah organized an art project in Northern Iraq with Yezidi women who had escaped ISIS captivity, and in April 2018 for Rohingya children in refugee camps on the Myanmar border. Her most recent project has been with survivors of Boko Haram and Fulani violence in Northern Nigeria.
Through her art Hannah gives voice to the voiceless, lionizes the isolated and prescribes dignity to the persecuted and forcibly displaced. Hannah seeks to use art as a tool for advocacy, bringing their stories into places of influence in the Global North.
Hannah's portraits have been shown at places including the UK Houses of Parliament, European Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Lambeth Palace, The Saatchi Gallery and Westminster Abbey. Three of Hannah’s paintings of Yezidi women were chosen by HRH The Prince of Wales for his exhibition Prince & Patron in Buckingham Palace in 2018.
Hannah’s exhibition Tears of Gold is part of an online exhibition for the UN with Google Arts & Culture 'The Future is Unwritten: Artists for Tomorrow' launched to mark the UN’s 70th Anniversary.
Hannah has been shortlisted for the Women of the Future Award 2020 and nominated for the UN Women UK Awards 2020 and the World Humanitarian Forum Youth Changemaker Award 2020. She was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 and The Female Lead 20 in their 20s in recognition of her work.