Khamsa, Sadaqa Jaariyah (Endless Charity), The Refugee Crisis Portrait Project’

IFAC Athina presents
Khamsa, Sadaqa Jaariyah (Endless Charity), The Refugee Crisis Portrait Project’ - Organized by Aubrey Roemer
April 8 - May 1, 2016 - Opening Reception April 8, 7-10pm
Khamsa, Sadaqa Jaariyah (Endless Charity), The Refugee Crisis Portrait Project' was created while volunteering at Greek refugee camps in Lesvos and Athens, while working on advocacy for refugee relief with government, local, and NGO cooperation. This process was documented with photographs, written prayers, voice memos, paintings, prints, and drawings, with the participation of refugees and aid workers met along the way.
The piece is a collection of 99 prayer flags created from discarded life jackets and emergency blankets found on Lesvos, a number is equivalent to the amount of beads on an tasbih, the Islamic prayer necklace. The hands of 66 refugee women and children were traced, while just their eyes were photographed as references for the painted likenesses encased in each pair of hands. This composition is a direct reference to the khamsa / hand of fatima, the hamsa hand, hand of Mary - a symbol for protection, blessings, and strength found in most major religions. Male refugees comprise the other 33 flags in the form of prayers and protest inscribed onto swatches of material at the camps and on the ferry. The percentages reflected are a deliberate rebuttal to media dissemination that only single, criminal men are making the journey to the EU.ifac-aubry-roemer2.1
77 individual prints of eyes, representative of numerology associated with Jesus Christ and the most widely recognized number of branches in Islam, are the final component to this project. They represent the estimated 6,000 lives lost in the Aegean Sea. The digital negatives of the printmaking process have been incorporated into the project
In Islam, Sadaqa Jaariyah (Endless Charity) is a concept that by doing humanitarian work both parties are rewarded, and the doer’s good deeds continue on past their life. Elaborating on that concept, this work is being used to raise awareness by traveling the world on exhibition - to China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Greece so far - with future shows in planned in the EU, the USA, and the Middle East. It will be bound into a book, generating funding for continued refugee relief efforts in partnership with the Greek NGO Desmos.
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