Refugee Stories began as a commission for the PhotoEast Festival in 2018 - the overarching theme for the festival was 'Belonging'. I was introduced to Suffolk Refugee Support and then invited to regularly attend their social groups and the International Womens Day party. By using my pop-up photo studio, I developed a series of portraits alongside the group who generously shared personal experiences and thoughts about what it means to 'belong'. During the project, I learned how to upscale and directly transfer each photograph onto OSB wood (a material often used in transportation and rebuilding). Each person wrote a brief testimony, directly onto their portrait using acrylic pens.
Since then I have worked with Rifaii - a refugee from Syria - and Yana & Soffia - a mother and daughter from Ukraine – to develop this series further.
The work has been exhibited sporadically, but it is the ambition of the participants, Suffolk Refugee Support and myself to create a tour of the series both in and out of the county, primarily as an educational tool.
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