19 March – 1 April 2023
Humade Crafts Workshop, Lesvos Solidarity – Yioula Koutsoumpou
IPek + YemekPourTous
ReFOCUS Media Labs – Nazanin Foroghi, Yaser Akbari, Douglas Herman
School without Frontiers – Lonais Jaillais
Now You See Me Moria
In her 1954 essay The Crisis in Education, the philosopher Hannah Arendt questions “…whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it…”. Responsibility is defined as the opportunity or ability to act independently and take decisions without authorization and shares the same root with the word correspondence.
c0<3Respondences exhibition reflected on the ability to grasp the chance to speak for oneself and respond from the heart to one another. It showcased the works of artists, collectives and organizations who explore ways to playfully correspond and take active responsibility against exclusion in a rapidly changing world, inviting the visitor to reflect on what makes us feel at home.
The exhibition is grown from the existing project c0<3Respondences, which connects children in exile with their peers around the globe via physical letters and was initiated by a small group of people as a response to the destruction of the Moria camp in Lesvos by the big fires in 2020. The project has been supported by the School Without Frontiers, many public and community schools, organizations, teachers, and individuals. The infographic on the wall of the exhibition’s space introduced the visitors to the project while the video footage by Lonais Jaillais showed colorful and bright moments of the children’s life in the refugee camp, which are unfortunately the exception. The organic-shaped table in the middle of the space was especially designed and manufactured for the exhibition. The carperts were sponsored by the Swiss company Formtech AG and are manufactured out of recycled materials. The visitors had the opportunity to take a moment to sit down, go through different books and publications or write a letter. A letter from their heart!
Field recordings from the Moria camp were reworked in an improvised rearrangement by Tassos Tataroglou. The recordings were made by Jaillais during his stay at the camp and the first letter writing sessions of the c0<3Respondences project. The rearrangement of the recordings attempted to playfully interweave them in a never-ending story telling. The pieces were stored in small toy figures and could be initiated by the visitors.
Yioula Koutsoumpou from Lesvos Solidarity questions the idea of home and belonging(s). What would you take with if you had to abandon your home? A collective mosaic showing a person carrying hers/his/their home was created by Koutsoumpou and the participants during the first half of the exhibition and will be dispayed till the end of June 2023 at the Freilagerplatz. This figure will continue to demand safe passages for millions of people around the globe, in a place like Basel where the free crossing among boarders is a well-established right.
The paintings of the self-taught artist Roya Rasuli scream for the rights of the Afghan women. Taking as references famous paintings of the art history, Rasuli tells us stories of despair and oppression while at the same time shows the beauty and strength of the Afghan women. A refugee herself, Rasuli has spent a long time in various camps in Greece, where she discovered painting as a place of comfort and self-expression. In her works, Rasuli often depicts memories of the dangerous journey she and her family took to reach Europe.
“Nothing about us without us” serves as a call to action for mainstream media to develop a new standard of engagement with the communities they report upon. The 32-minute film was written, directed, and edited by Nazanin Foroghi, Yaser Akbari – two senior citizen journalists/teaching artists, and their mentor Douglas Herman from ReFOCUS Media Labs collective. Commissioned by Allianz Kulturstiftung, this documentary was filmed by the core team of citizen journalists who continue to chronicle the struggles faced by asylum seekers and refugees on Lesvos, Greece since 2019.
Posters from designers around the globe are the response to open calls by the collective Now You See Me Moria. The collective was initiated in 2020 as a need to document the inhuman living conditions of asylum seekers at the Moria camp. Since then, further campaigns have been launched. #nochildinaprison campaign aims to bring awareness and open a discussion about the need of Closed Control Access Centres (CCACs). These are camps surrounded by barbed wire fences and concrete walls, with 24/7 surveillance. The Greek authorities are planning to move asylum seekers to a CCAC, 36 km away from the city in Lesvos, Greece. This measure will regulate the residents – their freedom of movement – so they are de facto in aenter text here as well. How do children dream, cry, eat, grow up, hope, hide, learn, play, sleep and wish in a prison? The Now or Never campaign responses to the events of 15th of August 2021 in Afghanistan and demands safety, security, and dignity for Afghan people.
IPek + YemekPourTous showed an invitation to investigate merging cultural differences through cooking recipes. Cooking is a universal ritual which can bring us together. People carry their cooking traditions, just like oral history on their way. IPek + YemekPourTous gather recipes from migrants and refugees of various traditions. How traditions taste when adapted to the new residencies? How tastes change using ingredients from another place? What remains active as a practice and what becomes a memory? Questions about identity and home, that applies to each of us.
Yota Tsotra explores the medium of painting as a path for reflecting on innocence. Children can be seen playing, running, jumping. The surrounding landscape is undefined. Innocence is the power of children to experience the world through wide open eyes, sharpen senses and enormous curiosity. Tsotra questions our responsibility against this right of children. How are we failing as a society if we don’t respect this right?
Francesca Petrarca has developed a unique visual language for the exhibition which colorfully talks about everything that the project overall represents. Pencils are bent to form hearts and small hands are guiding them to draw happy faces smiling at us. The oversized kids, drawn on the wall, welcomed the visitors to the c0<3Respondences Universe.
Curated by Yota Tsotra with Francesca Petrarca
The exhibition is the result of a one-year grant provided to Yota Tsotra by Atelier Mondial.
The exhibition was supported by
Ernst und Olga Gubler-Hablützel Stiftung, Atelier Mondial, Formtech AG
Ahmad, Moein, Zakir, Najma, Marouf, Vivi, India, Rouddy, Zeynep, Music International, Paréa Lesvos, Sporos, One Happy Family, Manon, David, Stavros, Fabio, Star School, Tolou School, Niederholz Schule, Hirzbrunnen Schule and all the kids and supporters of the c0<3Respondences project.
Photos: Nici Jost