Magnum’s refugee photography on display at Royal Holloway

RHUL Refugee Society and Amnesty are hosting an exhibition previously shown at Southbank

Kyle Hoekstra

A collection of photographs depicting refugee crises over the past 70 years, previously shown as an outdoor exhibition on London’s Southbank, are now on display at Royal Holloway’s Emily Wilding Davison building.

The 30 pictures by Magnum photographers explore the experiences of those uprooted by conflict and persecution and are being shown until Friday, 2 February, in the corridor between the library and the SU shop. The exhibition is organised by Amnesty International RHUL and RHUL Refugee Society.

“The exhibition itself looks at the refugee crisis through history, since 1945 until today,” says Poppy Forbes, final-year history student and president of Amnesty International at RHUL.

It aims to raise awareness of Amnesty’s I Welcome campaign, which calls on the UK to share responsibility in responding to the refugee crisis by providing safe routes for refugees to find sanctuary in the UK.

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Forbes says that the purpose of the exhibition is “to raise awareness, not only of the refugee crisis in the UK, but also by looking at it from a historical perspective.

“It will show links between previous refugee crises that you’ve maybe not seen as a refugee crisis, and [promote] a level of understanding and the idea of welcoming.”

While depicting the challenges faced by refugees, the photos also highlight acts of solidarity towards refugees and the welcome they have received from local communities.

Originally created by Amnesty International and Magnum Photos, the exhibition has been given to groups to show in their local areas.

The images on display are by different photographers with varied subjects. They include David Seymour’s photography of child refugees in Greece in 1946 and Chien-Chi Chang’s depiction of a heap of lifejackets abandoned in Lesbos in 2017. There is no particular order to them and each will communicate different messages to the viewer.

“Each one has its own individual value,” says Forbes.

“People will see it as they walk by. It’s something where you don’t have to look at all of them, you can look at one or two and it will give you a level of understanding.

“It’s a cool exhibition, I genuinely recommend it.”

An audioguide to the exhibition is available on Amnesty International UK’s website.

Kyle Hoekstra

Images: Amnesty International/Magnum Photos

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