To raise awareness about the refugee crisis, Trajnostni Park Istra invited EVS Volunteer Gemma Gelabert Gonzalo to set up her exhibition ‘Skozi oči beguncev‘ in Koper. Središče Rotunda Koper was also willing to collaborate, hosting the exhibition until the 15th of January in their main hall where numerous events will take place over the next months, so many people will be able to experience the exhibition.
Gemma Gelabert Gonzalo is an EVS Volunteer in Mladinski Center Velenje for a period of 12 months. Before coming to Slovenia, Gemma had the opportunity to work in a Refugee Camp in Greece. There she realized how important it is to let the world know about the tough life refugees are faced with. After a while, a great project came out. Gemma started organizing exhibitions to spread the voice of the refugees, through the amazing photography work of a refugee and a volunteer from the Greek camp, Abdulazeez Dukhan, and a journalist Ana Parra.
To get a closer contact with the project, we decided to make a short interview with Gemma, to understand better how and why she started the project.
- What was the main reason that moved you to make the exhibition?
I think the exhibition is a very powerful tool to show the perspective of the people, the way how people are really dealing with it, from their eyes and voice. That’s also why the exhibition is called “Through the Eyes of the Refugees”.
- How did you end up in a refugee camp in Greece?
Back in Catalunya, I had a lot of friends who went to help in refugees’ camps in Greece and I also wanted to do something about it. And then I met this group that planned to go there, so we went together. It was just the perfect opportunity to go.
- How did your project start?
The exhibition started before I came to Slovenia through EVS. When I was in Greece, I met a Syrian guy who was creating this photos and texts to spread the voice of the refugees. And when I came to Slovenia in the middle of July, I wanted to help him to spread the voice. So, I proposed to Mladinski Center Velenje to start this initiative as a project. In October, we did it in three different places of Velenje and now we are spreading it elsewhere in Slovenia.
- Is there any deeper meaning in your selection of the pictures and the way they are presented?
I decided that the pictures will be framed in a simple, torn cardboard. Cardboard is a material that is used everywhere and for everything in the refugee camps. I wanted to recreate a glimpse of the real conditions there.
- How was the feedback of the public after the first exhibitions?
The people who came to visit were really interested about what was really going on and to get to know more about the refugees. People are many times afraid of the refugees and the bad things the situation can bring. That is why it is so important to spread the truth and show that the refugees are just people like you and me, who got caught in an unfortunate situation. This could happen to us, too, someday.
Beatriz Lourenço (EVS Volunteer, Portugal)