Refugee Week photography exhibition honours the spirit of survival, of community and of Scotland

Spirit Photography Exhibition   Freedom Ship  Photograph by Iseult Timmermans
The Freedom Ship c. Iseult Timmermans

A Refugee Week Scotland photography exhibition which pays tribute to refugees who lost their lives fleeing danger, is now open at Glasgow’s Trongate 103 in Glasgow, right in the heart of the Merchant City.

The Spirit Exhibition, co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council in partnership with Street Level Photo Works, includes moving images by six photographers from a refugee background. Inspired by the Refugee Week theme, ‘Spirit’, the photographs were taken during a three month project supported by Street Level.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is the ‘Freedom Ship’ image, which symbolises the difficult journeys refugees fleeing persecution, torture, war and violence are forced to make. Featuring several of the participants of the project, the image also shows a piper symbolising the welcome Scotland extends to refugees.

The idea for the ship image came from Spirit participant, Karima Hussaini, a refugee from Afghanistan.

A lot of people from countries all over the world are forced to make extremely difficult journeys while trying to reach safety. I remember watching a news item about people who didn’t make it – their small boat sunk and they lost their lives. It’s so painful and sad to think of that. I can relate – my own journey was difficult but now I’m safe in Scotland and I have a new life here.”

                                                 - Karima Hussaini

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “This exhibition is full of moving photographs that remind us of the spirit shown by refugees and the welcome that they receive in Scottish communities. Powerful images like these inspire Scottish Refugee Council to continue all the work we do in helping refugees rebuild their lives in Scotland.” He added: “We hope that people feel proud to be part of a Scotland that is able to offer sanctuary to those most in need of protection.“

The Spirit Exhibition runs in the foyer of Trongate 103 from Friday 8 June 8 – Friday 22 July 2012. 

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