Personal objects of refugees narrate their drama at Athens exhibition

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-18 21:20:05|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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by Natasha Pavlopoulou

ATHENS, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian banknote of a Syrian Kurdish refugee in Greece, a suitcase left behind by a refugee family who fled the Balkan wars in the 1990s and a gardening scissors from Bulgaria, these personal items among around 120 others are telling the stories about forced displacement in an exhibition focusing on fleeing, people exchanges and wars.

The exhibition "Outcast Europe, Memories of Displacement and Movement" will be open until Oct. 27 in parallel with concerts, film screenings and poetry nights.

It is a journey in time, as the exhibition runs through a period from the early 20th century to the present, according to the organizers.

Through historical eras and international borders, it echoes the impact of migration and refugee movement, as part of the collective conscience of the peoples of Europe.

"Visitors who come here will see the objects and stories of the refugees and in this way they will have the chance to create a wider story about the Europe of the desperate and the desperate of Europe," Nick Papakostas, one of the founding members of the Interalia organization and member of the Outcast Europe team, told Xinhua.

Its aim is to keep up the discussion about people moving to european societies, then and now, said the organizers.

The exhibition held at the empty hotel of Bageion, a historic meeting point in Omonia square at the centre of Athens, hosts personal items from people who come mainly from Greece, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Czech Republic, Hungary and Serbia, which can be linked to the modern itinerary of refugees to Europe.

"Outcast Europe, the initiative to which the exhibition belongs, involves organizations, bodies and collectives from the six countries mentioned above. Interalia, the lead player of this action, collected items from country to country, from the local exhibitions which took place in each one of them, and then brought them to Athens," said Papakostas.

The exhibition is held under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Along with the exhibition, a conference titled "Potentials and Challenges for the Migration Crisis" will take place, with the participation of academics, activists and institutional representatives from Greece and abroad.

More than 1 million people had landed on Greek shores since 2015, risking their lives on the Aegean Sea, to seek refuge from war zones and poverty until the closure of the borders to central Europe in the winter of 2016.

Some of them continued their journey to other European countries, while about 60,000 have been stranded in Greece, according to the latest official data from the Ministry of Citizens' Protection.