Migrants Of Geneva: An Exhibition

Migrants Of Geneva: An Exhibition

Isn’t it amazing how we build up assumptions of people when we see them on the street, on the bus, in their clothes or how they walk? I’ve always found that, as humans we are quick to build up ideas of people based on stance, materialistic goods, age or how we walk. “Une Goutte De Notre Epoque”(AKA: A Drop In Our Time); is a photography project of migrants living in Geneva that I have been working on. Using a quote by Rumi as the base of the project: “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a single drop”, the project’s purpose was to break the negative and distorted perception the world has of migrants. Migrants are our neighbours, our friends, those we see on the bus and on the street; in fact we are all the ocean and we are all in this together. The fact that migrants live in such close quarters to us means that what happens to them affects all of us. It should never be seen as us verses them. – All the migrant and refugees situation across the world is happening in our time, with our politicians vastly affecting what status humans have.

"You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a single drop”

— Rumi

The Exhibition

In October 2016 we launched my exhibition tackling exactly these discussion points above; our assumptions, our ideas of different cultures and countries. Each portrait is titled as “A drop from their country” (for example “A drop from Peru”) and each portrait is taken of the person in water (to compliment Rumi’s quote). By not adding to the negative perception, we did not want to reveal the intricate or tragic stories each person has to tell. For example one male participant was tortured in a Chinese prison for 7 years, but by the look of his portrait, one would never tell. Actually the fact that we found 27 participants from each continent (besides North America and Australia) volunteering to be part of this project in 2 hours, shows how adventurous they can be and I take my hat off to those who partook and had fears of water or had lost friends by travelling by boat.

Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.

— Christopher Morley

Having Assumptions

In case you missed the exhibition, below are a selection of pictures from the exhibition and the launch. You will also see a set portraits of the same participants taken 5 minutes before in their clothes before I photographed them in the water. The purpose being to show how we build up assumptions of people and their characters based on their looks. When you take that away, when they seem bare, we see more of an individuality, their character. To make this exhibition happen I had been working closely with the Centre de La Roseraie (in Geneva) for 1 year so it could be finally seen by the public. I had pitched the project in October 2015 and we managed to do the shoot in mid February 2016 at the Windsor Hotel in Geneva.

"....we build up assumptions of people and their characters based on their looks."

— Kerim Knight

A Moving Exhibition

The exhibition was opened by the minister of culture and sports, Sami Kanaan and we had over 280 people attending the opening night and with over 1,040 people visiting during the 10 days it was on. As private exhibitions go, this is a very very high turn out rate. Also, “Une Goutte De Notre Epoque” will now be travelling around Switzerland in 2017 thanks to bookings from schools, museums and the Ville De Genève. For dates I will be creating an events page on my site and the exhibitions will also be announced on the Facebook page/group below.

See the full set of images here.

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(click to see Facebook page)

A big “thank you” to Mathilde Avecedo for organising and managing the exhibition, Mélanie Fontanet for the marketing and PR. And another “thank you” to Saso Domijan for taking the great event pictures.