‘Ongoing Journeys’ by Rich Wiles – Available for hire during UK Refugee Week
Ongoing Journeys is a touring photographic and multi-media exhibition by award-winning artist Rich Wiles. The exhibition includes 32 framed photographs and an accompanying film installation, and is available for hire including during Refugee Week.
*The exhibition has been touring since November 2018:
Migration Museum, London – November 2018-Feb 2019
Hull International Photography Gallery – March-May 2019
St. Hugh’s Foundation Arts Award – Winner
Brighton Photo Biennial ‘Open Forum’ Open Call – Selected Project
UNHCR Innovation Award – Shortlist
Jerwood/Photoworks Photography Prize – Longlist
Project Brief – ‘Ongoing Journeys: A Story of Family’
Ongoing Journeys is a story about ‘family’ – as experienced by millions of people in today’s world…
It was just a few months after his arrival in the UK that I first met Rami. Having fled with his wife, Ruba, and their children Mustapha, Yazan and Hanan from the beseiged Syrian city of Homs, Rami and his family were later brought to the UK under the British Government’s resettlement program.
I had recently returned to the UK myself after many years based in Palestine which had included several years living inside a refugee camp. I later got married in Palestine. Now back in the UK with my family, we are currently attempting to navigate through the UK’s immigration process with my wife, herself a Palestinian refugee.
Rami and I seemed to share many things in common and we soon became friends. I began to document the new stages of his family’s life as they attempted to rebuild. I felt however, there was something still missing in the project, a deeper context that was yet to reveal its myriad layers. Then, one day, Rami told me a story…
Soon after the family had been forced to flee their home it was invaded by militias who caused widespread damage and scattered many of their belongings. Days later, a member of Rami and Ruba’s extended family passed by and found a small collection of family photographs among their strewn possessions. She picked them up and took them with her to Lebanon (when she also fled) where she found the Rami and Ruba and reunited them with this collection of printed memories.
They brought this small surviving family archive with them to the UK. It is all that remains of their visual history. Most of Rami and Ruba’s surviving family have now been displaced to several countries around the world, a few remain internally displaced within Syria. Taking collective family photographs is no longer possible although, via Whatsapp, the fragmented family continue to take and send each other photographs of their lives today.
Ongoing Journeys is a deeply personal yet also participatory project that fuses documentary photography, family archive images and photographs sent via Whatsapp to bring together, at least photographically, an extended yet fragmented Syrian family. Collectively, we are rebuilding the family archive.
*For more information please contact Rich Wiles – firstname.lastname@example.org