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05:24, 28 March 2017 Tuesday
14:49, 03 June 2016 Friday

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London exhibition showcases art by Calais refugees
London exhibition showcases art by Calais refugees

'Call me by my name' tells stories of refugees who live in infamous Calais camp in northern France

World Bulletin / News Desk

A London exhibition featuring the stories of refugees who live in the infamous “Jungle” camp in Calais, in northern France, opened its doors to visitors Thursday.

The “Call me by my name” exhibition organized by the Migration Museum Project aims to raise awareness on refugees and the individual stories behind the refugee crisis.

 “There are so many headlines, political discussions about migration. But a lot of that misses the fact that actually throughout Britain’s history, it has been an island where people have come and gone, and shaped our identity throughout history,” Matthew Plowright, the press officer of the Migration Museum Project said.

The exhibition showcases works of art works made by refugees and camp residents of Calais who emerge from “a nameless group into named individuals” through art, according to the press release.

“We wanted to provide a platform for refugees and migrant artists to express themselves artistically,” Plowright has said.

A highlight of the exhibition is an installation of life jackets, in which are embedded the stories of the refugees who wore them. All the jackets were collected in Greece.

Alpha, from Mauritania, an artist who lived in the Calais camp as a refugee for six months before obtaining asylum status in France, made a painting of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, whose lifeless body on a beach came to symbolize, via a picture, the plight of all Syrian refugees. In the painting, he is laying on the beach with a paper boat floating over the sea.

A sculpture called Wanderers aims to echo the language used by politicians to describe migration. More than 300 handmade human figures walking in the same direction appear as “a threatening mass”, explains Danish artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen.

“It is inspired by pictures and videos I have often seen in news videos of refugees, just walking, hoping to get somewhere better,” Larsen said.

“These faceless homogenous individuals resemble what you often hear politicians or right-wing supporters describe refugees as: swarm of refugees,” he adds

Last July, Prime Minister David Cameron came under fire for his choice of language when he referred refugees trying to reach Britain from Calais as “swarms”.

Throughout the exhibition there are numerous pictures, videos and recycled materials used by camp residents, which give an insight to daily life in the Calais Jungle. Thousands of refugees and refugees are in the Calais area, many trying to enter the U.K.

The “Call me by my name” exhibition will be open to all visitors until June 22. Admission is free.



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