No one should be forced to endure winter in a tent, particularly in Europe. But that’s the reality facing tens of thousands of refugees stranded in camps across Greece.
Photographs of 31 men, women, girls and boys, united by stories of displacement and disjuncture, formed the basis of a moving exhibit hosted by the IRC at the Union Club, Soho. They represent the 45,000 refugees in Greece who are preparing for plummeting temperatures this winter as they wait for their asylum applications to be processed.
The photos were taken in Kara Tepe refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, by photographer Tara Todras-Whitehill. Game of Thrones actors Lena Headey and Indira Varma joined the IRC for the event, having recently made visits to IRC programmes in Greece and Serbia.
Lena visited refugee camps in Lesbos along with fellow Game of Thrones actors Liam Cunningham and Maisie Williams in June earlier this year, and met many of the refugees participating in the exhibition.
“It sounds kind of trite, but this could be us," Lena explained. "Who knows tomorrow, with the state of politics around the world, what will happen in the next few years?”
Indira joined the IRC for a visit to Serbia in November, where thousands of refugees remain stranded following the closing of borders along the Balkan route. “All these stories, all these people, are valid” she remarked. “They are on the move for a reason.”
Explaining the concept behind the project of photographing refugees and asking them about their dreams, photographer Tara Todras-Whitehill explained: “The idea of looking at these people, looking into their eyes and understanding that we are the same is really important.”
A video compiling the refugees’ testimonies was released on Human Rights Day, on December 10th.