GALERIA BEZ DOMU is a campaign with an aim to remind us that every person deserves to be respected and treated with dignity. It doesn’t matter whether you are a citizen of your country or you have to flee your homeland – the essence of being a refugee is that your rights as a citizen in your own country are threatened or you have no rights at all. Being a refugee is only one of many aspects of being a man. Apart from that, you can be a student, a doctor, a carpenter, a lover of cats, a fan of a game of chess, a woman, a man, a grandfather, a mother, or a child.
Nowadays, all these roles seem to be obscured by a “refugee” label, which prevents us from seeing human beings in people labelled thus. What is more, this label is abused by politicians in order to dehumanize those who were forced to leave their native country and seek a new home. The history of mankind shows that genocide originates in denying some people their humanity by others at the level of language, for example by calling them animals, demons or sub-humans. Words have great power, words create images which direct our thoughts and control our actions. Stereotyping others and using dehumanizing language are not just manifestations of verbal aggression, but they can easily turn into physical violence against other people.
No one chooses a country in which they are born, neither do they choose if their country is rich or poor, torn apart by wars, hit by a natural disaster or hunger stricken. It is all a matter of chance. We never know what may befall us – we may as well be deserted by fate and made to leave our home because of war, persecution, or poverty. We all have the same basic needs, among them safety, which we want to ensure for ourselves and for our families. As Warsan Shire writes in her poem: “No one puts their children in a boat. Unless the water is safer than the land”.
The children who survived a voyage by sea mostly went to refugee camps. The camps lack many fundamental things, most of all they lack the possibility of comprehensive, inclusive education. On a global scale, children make up more than one half of all refugees, and it is often because of children that parents make a decision to fight for a better life elsewhere.
GALERIA BEZ DOMU concentrates on refugee children and their basic needs in refugee camps. It is the children from primary schools in Poznań that made us sensitive to other people’s needs. These children were not looking for excuses for not helping, which we know only too well from the world of grownups. These children understood the situation, felt other children’s pain and took action to help. The children from 1st-4th grade made postcards and audio recordings with wishes for the children in refugee camps, because they wanted to express some interest, show care and compassion. The postcards with drawings and the recorded wishes were supposed to raise the refugee children’s spirits, bring joy into their lives and give them some consolation. All the postcards, the results of workshops organised in schools, invite us to enter the world of child-like sensitivity and serve as an encouragement to get closer to another person.
It is a mobile gallery, it is travelling around Poznan, Poland, and around Europe. All postcards will be dispatched to the refugee camps in Greece, Serbia and Italy.