Hope and despair, tears of joy, and sadness, courage, challenge, determination, desperation, these are but a few of the emotions illustrated by five internationally acclaimed photographers at the Annenberg Space for Photography’s newest exhibit, REFUGEE.
With the number of displace people having reached some 60 million globally, this stunning and timely exhibition takes viewers beyond the statistics and headlines and into the lives of people who have taken great risk left everything behind and fled to an unknown future. Through these singular and compelling images, viewers have the opportunity to engage with the plight of refugees not previously encountered and reflect on the full range of current global refugee experiences.
The five photographers have each used their personal style to humanize the refugees’ and their struggles to build new homes and peaceful lives while in flight from dehumanizing and life-threatening persecution and deprivation. A core principle of REFUGEE is to present these diverse populations with both dignity and respect, even as they have endured often unwelcoming conditions and hostile environments in order to find their new beginnings.
Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winning photographer Lynsey Addario documented a disenfranchised Muslim population, the Rohingya people, in the predominately Buddhist nation of Myanmar. According to the UN, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Known for his work in fashion photography, Omar Victor Diop presents beautiful portraits of refugees from the Central African Republic who were forced to flee to Cameroon. Diop tells us that to him the color blue is the color of hope, so he has chosen to frame his portraits in blue African patterns.
Fine Art photographer Graciela Iturbide photographed settlements of Central American refugees in Mexico and displaced communities in Colombia. One of the most prolific Mexican photographers of any generation, Iturbide has participated in group exhibitions throughout the globe. Her solo exhibitions include the Casa de la Cultural in Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; and the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, among others
Tom Stoddarts photographic narrative of refugees arriving in Greece and traveling through Croatia and Serbia to Germany document the heart breaking desperation of people arriving on the shores of Greece in small boats, wearing orange life jackets, comforting frightened, cold, hungry, wet children. Relating his experiences for REFUGEE, Stoddart comments: “During my assignment I saw once again the tired faces of desperate fathers trying to find a place of safety and peace for their families, away from the bombs and inhumanity of war. In Berlin, their faces had changed… there was still sadness at having to flee the country of their birth, but also optimism and a determination to prosper and contribute to a democratic society that had opened its doors and given a warm welcome to homeless strangers.”
Using the same close-range detailed photography portraits that he uses on everyday people, important and iconic entertainment personalities, political and cultural figures; Martin Schoeller has turned his unique stylistic lens to capture portraits of resettled refugees in the U.S for a section of the exhibit entitled “New Americans”
The show will also include an original film by Tiger Nest Films showing the five photographers on location where they talk about their work and share the stories behind the images.
In addition to the presentation of REFUGEE, the Annenberg Foundation and Annenberg Space for Photography engaged the nonprofit VisionWorkshops to provide a photography camp for displace youths where they create and document their realities as internally displaced people through both photography and writing. The resulting work of its participants is included within the REFUGEE exhibit.
REFUGEE April 23 – August 21
The Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Admission is free with discounted validated parking in the underground garage.