“I photographed refugees at night to use the darkness as a metaphor for their current situation. I want to suggest that we live with refugees around us in our cities but we don‟t notice them, they seem hidden to us.” Andrew McConnell, Panos Pictures.
With funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), and in collaboration with Panos Pictures and World Press Photo award winning photographer Andrew McConnell, IRC-UK is staging the groundbreaking multimedia project Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees, raising awareness of the plight of urban refugees.
The challenges faced by the 6 million refugees now living in towns and cities across the world are captured in this new multimedia photo exhibition and film project, which includes a series of photo-portraits and interviews with urban refugees living in eight countries, including victims of the current Syrian crisis and Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake.
The photos reveal how the classic picture of a refugee camp, with its endless rows of white tents spread out over a dusty field, is changing. Instead the portraits, taken at night and with a cityscape backdrop, capture the reality of life for more than half of the world‟s 10.5 million refugees.
Refugee testimonies accompanying the project detail the reasons why people flee their homes, often at the drop of the hat, and the particular challenges urban refugees face in their host countries.
Fawaz from Syria fled with his family to Al Mafraq in Turkey. Fawaz is just one of the 200,000 Syrians who have fled to Jordan since the fighting began in early 2011. Fawaz recalls the day he had to escape Syria: "The army forced entry into our homes and we became afraid for our children so we were forced to flee our country.”
The photography exhibit can currently be viewed at St. Pancras train station in London.
Please view the Hidden Lives website to find out more about the project.