“My hope is to reflect the hospitality I have received from refugees whilst making the work in this exhibition, and to create an environment that facilities conversation and understanding. Ultimately it’s about creating a space where stories will be shared and action inspired.”
The exhibition I Can Only Tell You What My Eyes See is a coming together of stories and storytellers. Over ten days a magical mix of food, music, talks and collaborative art will transform the Truman Brewery into a community where conversations will start, and action inspired.
At its heart, a series of a hundred images by the photographer Giles Duley documenting the refugee crisis for UNHCR. From the horror of boats arriving in Lesvos, to stark portraits of people stood against white backgrounds, Duley tells the stories of refugees with the empathy his work is noted for. In the section dedicated to the families Duley has been documenting for years, we get to see the true face of this crisis. But this exhibition is also a celebration of life, of culture, and the human spirit. It is not a place that wants to create pity, rather a place to inspire change. In troubled times, when the refugee crisis can seem overwhelming; this exhibition aims to be a place of hope.
The exhibition is about creating new work and ideas; it is not a full stop, rather a transition, where stories shared lead to further actions and art. The Legacy of War Collective is a loose body of artists who have been affected by conflict, they will act as artists in residence who will perform in the evenings as well as create new art inspired by stories around the show.
These will include:
The artist in residence – Semaan Khawam
The musicians in residence – SEEDS_I play with Mozart – Alaa Arsheed, Isaac De Martin, Panno Celeste and Haian Arsheid
The writer in residence – Sulaiman Addonia
Further collaboration comes from Rob Del Naja of Massive Attack who has created a soundscape for the exhibition. An installation of music that will be played through old radios, breaking the normal silence of an exhibition.
Finally, in a small room off the main exhibition will be some of the most powerful work; a collection of paintings by young Syrian artists living in Zaatari camp. This powerful series, supported by Find A Better Way, gives a unique insight into a child’s mind. The paintings convey the emotions of a young generation that, notwithstanding the tragedies witnessed, is determined to rise.
Duley wanted to take this exhibition away from the normal constraints of photographic show, as he describes it, the ‘Chapel Experience’. The whole point of Duley’s work is to get people engaged and inspired to action, they only way that happens is if conversations start.
So to facilitate that, there will be a supper gathering every evening. A gathering based around food, collaborations and conversations. A hundred guests will sit and enjoy a feast of Levantine cuisine, a chance to talk to strangers and share ideas.
During the evening there will be a guided tour of the exhibition by myself, and as we eat – talks, music, a celebration of arts and debates on action that can be taken. Every night, a slightly different mix.
Any profits go to support the work of the Legacy of War Foundation – supporting survivors of conflict.
And with huge thanks to the incredible support of:
Film development: Chan Photographic Imaging
Exhibition prints: Ilford
Table design: The Future Kept
Media partner: Port magazine
Venue: The Old truman Brewery.
Press: Carû Sanders at Delilah PR
Production: Edson Williams at EW Agency