“Push. Swim. Come on. Loneliness as I kicked, knowing that this was all on me. Her life. Everything was down to what I would do in the next few minutes.” Testimony from Brendan Woodhouse, British Firefighter and member of team imprisoned in Italy for SAR work. Refugee Rescue Invites you to a virtual multimedia exhibition featuring 20 artists from around the world and showcasing stories from maritime search and rescue for Refugee Week, June 15th – 21st.
This is an art exhibit and multimedia experience outlining the current situation in the Aegean and asking viewers to educate themselves, reconnect with the people forced to risk their lives at sea and the few individuals left to protect them. Refugee Rescue is the last remaining professional and humanitarian search and rescue organization working on the North Shore of Lesvos. For the past five years, as a grassroots NGO we have worked at the forefront of humanitarian aid, responding to distress calls and rescuing refugees at sea. www.refugeerescue.org
Since 2015, images of people arriving on Europe’s shores in flimsy dinghies have largely faded from the media’s attention. The world has grown accustomed to violence towards refugees, who must risk their lives at sea in search of safety. For Refugee Week, we ask you to remember that the Mediterranean remains the world’s deadliest border, having claimed 20,000 lives since 2014 and demonstrating the true human cost of European border policies.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, a crumbling EU-Turkey deal, and a global protest against systemic racism and oppression, people continue to cross the sea to seek asylum on the shores of Europe. This is the same unjust system that affects the lives of 70 million displaced persons around the globe; “More than ever before, fear grips your pounding heart, the terrible fear of losing your children. Yet, you still want to get your children on the boat.” Testimony from an asylum seeker currently waiting to have their claim heard in The Aegean Islands.
We host this exhibit for Refugee Week 2020 to present a hyper-local representation of the feelings, thoughts, sights and sounds of maritime search and rescue and confront the racially charged myths about refugees. Through this exhibit we encourage you to question your assumptions about the “Refugee Crisis” — to imagine how it feels to be involved in search and rescue and why it is absolutely necessary that regardless of the color of someone’s skin, or the country of their origin, all life is protected at sea.
Through the stories of search as rescue we ask, if we ignore this basic right to life, and criminalize protecting the most vulnerable in our society — what will we have left?
Artists featured in the exhibit include Mark Titchner, Rama Dua and Gommie.
Full programme: https://www.refugeerescue.org/programme
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