Touring exhibition depicts troubled lives of refugees in various cultures

Art February 07, 2018 06:00

By PHATARAWADEE PHATARANAWIK
THE NATION

4,420 Viewed

POWERFUL photography depicting Syrian, Rohingya, Bangladesh, Kurdish and Cambodian refugees crossing borders and living in camps were on display yesterday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, reflecting the severe worldwide refugee crisis.



The exhibition “Exodus Deja-Vu” includes 77 photographs focusing on the refugee crisis captured by seven photojournalists who have followed the perilous journeys of people forced to flee their homes.

“The touring exhibition is aimed at raising awareness of the current crisis of refugees around the globe and [we] hope these powerful images will speak louder about this serious humanitarian issue,” curator Patrice Vallette told The Nation.

Supported by the UNHCR, the Embassy of France in Thailand, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Asylum Access Thailand and Amnesty Thailand, the exhibition seeks to create a unified picture of people speaking different languages and leading different lives but sharing the same human rights. 

Each photographer brings his and her own knowledge of the events. Vallette introduces the work of two generations of photojournalists: Coskun Aral (Turkey), Suthep Kritsanavarin (Thailand), Issa Touma (Syria), Roland Neveu (France), Sergey Ponomarev (Russia), Rahman Roslan (Malaysia) and Greg Constantine (Canada).

More than 65 million people have been forcibly displaced by conflict and persecution, including more than 21 million refugees, half of whom are children, according to the exhibition.

“The tragedy touching Syria nowadays is reminiscent of refugee crises that have marked the past, as it did in Cambodia in the 1970s or more recently in Myanmar,” Vallette said.

There were 99,956 refugees living in nine refugee camps in Thailand as of December 2017, according to UNHCR Thailand. 

Most were from ethnic minority communities from Myanmar, mainly Karen and Karenni, who live in the camps in four provinces along the Thai-Myanmar border. Refugees in Thailand have been fleeing conflicts in Myanmar’s eastern border jungles for the safety of Thailand for more than 30 years.

Running until February 18, the exhibition on the fifth floor also displays the belongings of refugees from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia and Palestine who immigrated to Thailand.

Today at 11am the exhibition will feature a guided tour led by Vallette, followed by panel discussions with Aral, Neveu, Suthep and Roslan from 5pm to 7pm.

On Friday from 2pm to 4pm, Suthep and Neveu will hold a discussion at Thammasat University’s Tha Phrachan’s campus, moderated by Karntachat Raungratanaamporn, a lecturer in the journalism and mass commination faculty. 

Events will also be organised by Amnesty International Thailand at the weekend to allow members of the public to engage with several groups of refugees expressing their situations through drawings or henna.

The touring exhibition started in Kuala Lumpur last October and travelled to Ankara and Istanbul. 

Bangkok is its fourth stop before it heads to Berlin, Munich, Paris, Geneva and Toronto.