The Weltmuseum Wien considers it one of its responsibilities to make a contribution to the depiction and discussion of crucial topics in society, politics and culture. The museum wants to be a meeting point for social, artistic and political players who actively create an awareness of the relationships of power and the inequalities that exist in society as well as of problematic global issues, aiming to create a keen consciousness for these topics among its audience.
The photography project ‘Now you see me Moria’ was initiated by Amir, an Afghan man who used to live in the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos, which has in the meantime been devastated by fire, and by Noemi, an image editor from the Netherlands. They were later joined by Qutaeba from Syria as well as Ali and Mustafa from Afghanistan. The museum is not providing their full names in order to protect their identities. These refugees want to use their photographs in order to document life in the camps on Lesvos and to spread awareness of this partly disastrous humanitarian situation.
The initiative was started not least because journalists and photographers were not permitted to enter the camp Moria and even NGO workers are not allowed to take photographs in the camps. In fact, representatives of the media are still not allowed to enter the refugee camp Kara Tepe, where most of the inhabitants of the camp Moria were moved after the latter had been ravaged by flames in September 2020. As a result, the visual images available outside of the camps in order to document the conditions there are scarce.
However, visibility is key to improving the situation. That is why Amir, Qutaeba, Ali and Mustafa decided to take pictures of their situation themselves and to publish the pictures on the instagram account @now_you_see_me_moria as well as on the website nowyouseememoria.eu. Weltmuseum Wien is following their call to present the pictures in public and is showing ’Now you see me Moria’ until 14 September 2021 in its Hall of Columns. Entry is free of charge. The image captions were written by the photographers themselves.
Find more information on the exhibition and the images at:
The refugee situation on the Greek islands
The conditions that prevail in the completely overcrowded reception centres on the Greek islands are a cause for concern. More than 19,000 persons are currently living in the five reception and identification centres (RICs) on the Greek islands. The centres were originally planned for 5,400 people but were at times providing shelter to more than ten times that number in early 2020.
Thousands of people have had to live in tents without sufficient access to sanitary facilities. These persons moreover have often not had access to important information about the asylum process and were in danger of being deported into unsafe areas. It is a situation that is extremely taxing for the refugees, aid workers and locals. There are recurrent protests in the camps by those who want to fight against the existing conditions. In September 2020, a fire destroyed the camp Moria on the island of Lesvos.
More than 7,400 refugees are living in the emergency camp Kara Tepe on the island of Lesvos (as of January 2021). The camp was erected as an emergency shelter on a former military site in order to provide for the refugees and migrants who had lost their homes during the fire at Moria. At the time of its destruction in September 2020, the camp Moria was the largest of the five reception centres on the Aegean islands. Although the centre on the island of Lesvos was originally built for 2,500 persons, 18,000 people were living there in February 2020. The asylum seekers had to spend several hours queuing for food and water, and there were not sufficient sanitary facilities available.