Saturday, February 11, 2017

art exhibition

A mural at the exhibition of refugee artwork at Harburg City Hall.
If you ask Sly Kristicevic what is particularly special about the new exhibition of refugee art on display at the Harburg City Hall, he has a ready answer: the colors.

Kristicevic, who has been leading art-making workshops for many of Hamburg’s refugees for almost two years and brought the current exhibition to fruition, said that when the refugees first started making art with him, their pieces often showed scenes of war and were nearly always black and white.

But, Kristicevic said, the refugees have seemed to grow more hopeful, and even though some works displayed at the exhibition reflect the difficulties and sorrows of refugee life, many of the pieces indeed have color and have a positive spin.

“This painting is supposed to show that you can always go higher and achieve more,” said Mohin, 13, who came to Hamburg from Afghanistan, as he pointed to a painting of his, which was on display and showed houses piled on one another to form a skyscraper of sorts.

About 25 works by roughly 15 artists are displayed at the exhibit. Though sorrow surely infuses some of the pieces –  a mural at the beginning of the exhibit, for example, shows the silhouettes of broken-looking people in a queue surrounded by barbed wire fences and a white paper-machete "ghost ship" bears the names of over a dozen people who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean -- most of the pieces really do have hopeful flare.
Mohin, 13, an artist represented at the exhibit, explains the meaning behind one of his paintings.

Said Anes Aromdany, 26, of Tunisa, whose painting, which was on display, was filled with swirling colors, had an angel in it and all together looked like something Marc Chagall could have painted: “I wanted to show [with this piece] that despite war, there is beauty in the world,  there is harmony...and balance is incredibly important in our universe and must be respected.”
Some of the artists drew pictures on the life vests they used on their journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Because some of the artists had bad associations with these vests — after all, the floating devices reminded them of a treacherous journey and had cost high sums to obtain — they wanted to make something positive out of them. The vest pictured here has the Eifel Tower among other things drawn on it.

The exhibition, which is aptly called "Farben Wieder Sehen, Leben Wieder Sehen" -- "Seeing Colors Again, Seeing Life Again" -- will run until February 17 and is free. Fördern und Wohnen, a city agency that helps find housing for people in need, organized the event; Harburg was one of its sponsors.

Kristicevic, for his part, said he hopes to put on more refugee artwork exhibitions but he is really just grateful to be able to continue making art with the refugees. "For me, he said, "it is a great blessing just to see these people smile again and to hear their beautiful stories again.”