20/20 Virtual Exhibition and Upcoming Special Issue with Living Refugee Archives
Updated: Mar 5
Together with the Living Refugee Archives, I worked with Amin Kamrani to host his 20/20 virtual exhibition last year. This exhibition is an intimate portrayal of life, people and landscapes. 20 copies of 20 photographs. This exhibition is still live here. The photo are on sale with 60% of the proceeds to go to refugee and vulnerable communities in Malaysia. The Living Refugee Archive is hosting the virtual exhibition with an option to buy the limited edition prints.
Working on this project to host the gallery and organise the web-shop, was an important part of how I view my role as a researcher. Researchers and activists cannot give a voice. But we can act to provide space for and support new voices, narratives and creativities.
Photo No 3: Your pattern on the window
Taken in: Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
In your absence
the sun is just the sun
the day, day
Your presence is a
Amin Kamrani, the photographer, has worked alongside many of the refugee communities with local NGOs as a volunteer or as a community translator, as well as a photographer in Kuala Lumpur over the past 5+ years. The 20/20 limited-edition photo print project began in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Malaysia. As Amin notes, there was no choice but to stay within the confines of home, looking through his photographs which were taken outside the four walls encasing him.
‘While this crisis has affected our perspective of many things in the world, I felt my frames of the outside have now found a new meaning when they were viewed from within. It was then that I thought: it’s time to set up a way for others to have these frames in their homes too.’
In our exhibition, you will see the photographs accompanied by lines of poetry. This literature offers a chance to hear the voices of people unheard. Words from famous authors, some of whom are refugees themselves, express the daily nuances of emotions that are often overlooked. However, these lines should not define the stories of the frames, rather be read as moments of emotion and experience to be felt by the viewer.
Amin’s active engagement with refugee communities in Malaysia has been important in his decision to use his photography as a platform to facilitate a visual dialogue. The experiences and perspectives he gained from his volunteerism with refugee communities have proved to be a source of creative and intellectual inspiration. Over the years this has meant Amin had the opportunity to build important and meaningful friendships. For this reason, he has committed to share 60% of the proceeds with some of the most vulnerable communities in Malaysia affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In a later blog update will we outline how these proceeds have been used to support grassroots-driven refugee projects.
The 20/20 exhibition is also the springboard for the upcoming Special Issue:
This special issue is a collection of papers written by and with refugee women based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Amin also contributed the front cover and much of the photography in this issue.
All contributors to this project were participants in my doctoral participatory action research (PAR) project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia conducted between 2017—2018.
I hope you check out the exhibition and the upcoming special issue with the Living Refugee Archives.
Photo No 13: BazaarTaken in: Langaroud, Iran
Look at the flow of money
and the suffering of the world
If this glimpse of profit and loss
is not enough for you,
for us it is enough.