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Exhibition aims to tell stories of Syrian refugees

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 August 2014

An image from the Syria in Transit exhibition

An image from the Syria in Transit exhibition

Archant

The harrowing stories of refugees fleeing Syria are told in a exhibition exploring what it means to be in transit.

Refugees living on the Syrian border in Gaziantep, southeast Turkey, and Calais, France, in the hope of escaping to the UK were among those interviewed for the thought-provoking project.

Syria in Transit, created by Kemal Vural Tarlan, who hails from Gaziantep, with UK collaborator Jon Davis, aims to make visitors re-think what it means to be a refugee when it opens at Rich Mix on Saturday.

Jon, who spent two weeks on the Turkish/Syrian border interviewing refugees, admits that the somewhat contentious subject of migrants was a eyeopening matter to delve into.

“It was very powerful to go there and get a sense of what it was like and to understand people there,” he explained.

“It really showed how desperate people were, with many of them saying that they would have thought twice if they had known what was going to happen to them along the way.”

Told through a series of pictures and re-recorded audio to protect the identity of those involved, the exhibition gives an unparalleled insight to the stories which lead families to be where they are - and where they want to go on to be.

Many undertake unthinkable treacherous journeys via boats, cars and trains with the threat of being arrested or killed enroute to their desired destination.

Jon hopes that the exhibition will make people think twice about what it means to be a migrant and encourage greater empathy towards them.

“I hope it will reveal the very desperate situation of those who are in transit and migrants and the difficulties that they face in finding a permanent home,” he added.

*Syria in Transit runs in Rich Mix’s Lower Cafe from Saturday until September 7. Entry is free.

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