World Refugee Day


Robert Capa, [Woman at a concentration camp for Spanish refugees, Argelès-sur-Mer camp, France], March 1939 (1608.1992)


Ed Kashi, [Girls in front of their makeshift tent in the Ziveh refugee camp in Iran. The camp was created in the 1970’s to house Kurdish refugees from Iraqi persecution], 1991 (2006.40.48) From the series: When Borders Bleed: the Struggle of the Kurds


Fazal Sheikh, Traditional Birthing Attendant, Nybahire Esteri, holding newborns Nsabimana (“I beg something from God”) and Mukanzabonimpa (“God will give me, but I do not know when”), flanked by mothers Kanyange (left), Mukabatazi (right) and Mukabatazi’s mother, 1994 (51.1997)


Luc Delahaye, Jenin Refugee Camp, 2002 (185.2003) From the series: History


Tomas van Houtryve, Traces of Exile [Screenshots from digital video], 2016-17 (2017.6.1)


Hakan Topal, Untitled (Ocean) [Screenshots from digital video], 2017 (20017.5.1)

Commissioned for Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change (2017), Turkish artist Hakan Topal’s installation had its starting point with the image of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian child whose drowned body was photographed on the beach in Bodrum, Turkey in 2015. That image, made by photojournalist Nilu¨fer Demir, was Tweeted 30,000 times, appeared on the screens of nearly twenty million people within twelve hours. Topal’s work comprises 3-D animation and captured Internet image searches. The surface on which these images are projected evokes the limestone of the Syrian-Turkish border, and the shores at Bodrum, which also appear in footage by Topal. A recurring element is a heartbreaking scene witnessed by the artist in Istanbul, that of a Syrian child sleeping alone on the streets near a public park that has become a refugee camp. The shuffling of Topal’s documentary images with those circulating on the Internet points to the disjunction between lived and virtual experience of despair. For Topal, the sea itself acts as metaphor for vast and churning digital space in which these images circulate. (20017.5.1)

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