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I WELCOME Exhibition
I WELCOME Exhibition

Thu, 30 Jun



I WELCOME Exhibition

To commemorate Refugee Week, Maketank partnered with Amnesty International Exeter to host an extended version of “I Welcome”, Amnesty International UK and Magnum Photos’ exhibition This installment includes the refugee crisis in Ukraine, photographed by brave artists Constantin and Vlada Liberova.

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Time & Location

30 Jun 2022, 10:00 – 16:00

Exeter, 5 Paris St, Exeter EX1 2JB, UK

About the event

Exhibition of powerful photographs of past and present refugee crises will be at Maketank in Exeter between Monday 20 June – Saturday 02 July, 2022. Opening Night Monday 20 June 5-8pm. Running Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-16:00. Closing event Saturday 3-5pm.

Vietnam, Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine all feature in the exhibition as part of Amnesty’s I Welcome campaign.

Taking place Monday 20 June – Saturday 02 July, which includes Refugee Week, the exhibition will explore the experiences of those uprooted by conflict and persecution since the Second World War. From 1940s Greece to Syria n 2017, the 30 striking pictures from Magnum photographers show the reasons why people are forced to flee, the challenges they face on their journeys to safety and what happens when they make it. Since 2017, the refugee crisis has intensified as millions more have had to leave their homes in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Ukraine.

This exhibition now includes photographs of a refugee situation in Ukraine by Constantin and Vlada Liberova.  “When the war broke out, we realized that we had to do everything we could to make the world see what was happening in our country. We travel to the war zones to film and tell the stories of ordinary people, ordinary heroes. The goal of our project is to ensure that ordinary people and their stories do not turn into dry statistics over the years. “ Selected photos were taken in Irpen, Bucha, Kharkiv, Severodonetsk, Odesa and Mykolayiv.

The exhibition is part of Amnesty’s I Welcome campaign, calling on the UK to share responsibility in responding to the refugee crisis, including by providing safe and legal routes for refugees to find sanctuary here. The campaign also highlights the many acts of welcome and solidarity towards refugees from local communities across the country.

MAKETANK: Maketank is a place of sanctuary. Since we began in 2019, we have provided space for artists in crisis and created events for people to celebrate their cultural heritage. We were privileged to support Yalla Theatre as they began their work facilitating Syrian and other refugee children and women in making theatre together. Currently we provide studio space for five Ukrainian artists and creative people. We are working on achieving sanctuary status and providing more space for refugees.

As a cultural laboratory, we partnered with the Devon Ukrainian Association to create the Conversation Café as a welcome hub for Ukrainians and a place to learn more about Ukraine. As this is a central activity for us in this moment, this part of the exhibition focuses on Ukraine, but we recognize the many other refugee communities in the South West and would welcome conversations about how we can best support and represent you.

These images and films have been curated by Anastasiia Adamiv in an attempt to represent the current war in Ukraine and remind us in the South West of the lived experience of the refugees we welcome into our communities. Ukraine is a place of exceptional beauty and diversity. The following images depict the tragedy of war and often highlight despair and impoverishment. But Ukraine is not poor. It is rich with fertile earth, verdant mountains, medieval castles, vibrant ports, a wealth of cultural heritage, and so much more. We hope some of the videos capture this and that they inspire you to learn more about Ukraine, help rebuild it, and visit it when the war is over.

MAGNUM PHOTOS: Magnum was founded in 1947 by photographers Robert Capa, David ‘Chim’ Seymour, Henri Cartier- Bresson and George Rodger, who had all covered the Second World War. It is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Displayed throughout Maketank, the earliest photographs in the exhibition are David ‘Chim’ Seymour’s images of child refugees in Greece in 1946, juxtaposed with Chien-Chi Chang’s photograph of a mountain of lifejackets abandoned in Lesbos taken just earlier this year. Others include Philip Jones Griffiths' 1968 image of a child running from a bombing raid in Vietnam, Thomas Dworzak’s Chechen refugee children playing in the snow in neighbouring Ingushetia in 1999, and Lorenzo Meloni’s recent image of a Syrian family in front of the rubble which used to be their home.

Tom Davies, Campaign Manager at Amnesty International UK, said:

“Photography can be a powerful way of telling a story and these photos remind us that people have been fleeing conflict and persecution throughout history.”

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