Exhibition aims to give refugees a voice

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A photographic exhibition featuring pictures of refugees who have made new homes in Lancaster is currently on display in Lancaster library.

Supported by Global Link, the photos have been taken by Nawaf Alenazi, a TV cameraman from Kuwait, and professional photographer Kausiki Sarma Kausiki Sarma who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in sociology at Lancaster University and is also a professional photographer from India.

Since 2015, Lancaster has been welcoming asylum seekers from countries including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, Trinidad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, currently numbers exceed 115.

The first cohort of asylum seekers arrived in Lancaster in December 2015, many of whom have escaped escape war and persecution in their own countries but to date there is little documentation, until now to understand their backgrounds and histories.

This photographic exhibition attempts to address this gap by engaging with those who have been granted leave to remain as well as those who are awaiting the outcome of their applications.

The approach is to deconstruct perceptions about the refugee community by focusing on individualising the narratives of those who have been reduced to the singular collective identity of being a refugee.

The intention is to locate the ‘voice’ of the individual and demonstrate the plurality of their narratives, without taking recourse to simplified discourses of universal or bare humanity and helplessness of victimhood.

The exhibition celebrates each individual and their heritage and it is hoped that it will provide the opportunity for open discussion, inclusion and further integration into the Lancaster community.

The exhibition is on throughout July.