Traces of Survival: Drawings by Refugees in Iraq Selected by Ai Weiwei
The exhibition is accompanied by a display of drawings made by refugees in northern Iraq.
In December 2014 Ruya launched a campaign to provide drawing materials to adult men and women in refugee camps. Ruya visited Camp Shariya, Camp Baharka and Mar Elia Camp and over five days the Foundation collected 546 submissions, including drawings, poetry and prose. A selection of these drawings are on display. The submissions present incredibly powerful responses to life within the refugee camps.
A depiction of tanks and aircraft returning fire on each other was drawn by a forty-year-old
man carrying the caption, ‘Our people have only lived amongst wars and destruction,’
whilst another image depicts an isolated figure in a flooded refugee camp who petitions,
‘Save us from drowning. I am Iraqi.’ By contrast, other drawings depict life before the
refugee crisis, including a shining depiction of Mosul before Isis took control and a
depiction of a traditional Yazidi festival.
A number of these images have been selected by Ai Weiwei for a major book published to coincide with the Biennale. Proceeds from the book will go back to those who provided the content.