In 2021, it was exactly 70 years since the Refugee Convention was signed by 24 countries in Geneva. In the aftermath of World War II, this convention established the definition of a refugee and who was entitled to asylum. Even today, there are 80 million people fleeing their countries worldwide, and this is the subject of much discussion in our society.
To mark this anniversary, the Red Star Line Museum is creating the ‘Stories of refuge’ exhibition. It explores what it means to be on the run, beyond laws and political agreements. People with a story of refuge tell their story, personal objects and interviews bring it to life.
The Red Star Line Museum tells the story of two million passengers who once made the crossing to America on the Red Star Line’s steamships. Some of them would be considered as refugees today. It shows that this is not merely an actual issue of the past few years. Throughout history, millions of people left their homes through wars and crises, seeking safety.
Coming to Belgium
The ‘Stories of refuge’ exhibition will be an authentic journey along stories of refugees who have come to Belgium over the last 70 years. Stories of frustration, uncertainty and trauma, as well as courage, resilience and persistence. What decisions did they have to make during their journeys? Who did they meet along the way? What about the label ‘refugee’? Will they ever not be a ‘refugee’?
World Refugee Day
“On the 20th of June, International World Refugee Day, we asked Vida, Noor, Angela and Zakaria to read some pieces from the Geneva Convention and tell us what it means to them”, Red Star Line explains.
The film is a collaboration between Atlas Antwerp, the Red Cross asylum for refugees ‘Linkeroever’ and the Red Star Line Museum.
So, as such an exhibition is planned well in advance, there is no story of Ukrainian refugees. Although the present conflict is mentioned on the timeline.
What you do get is several witness accounts of refugees. They fled formal war, civil war, violence in general, dictatorship, a political system, repression based who you are or love or make love to, …
- Emzar fled Abkhazia, part of Georgia, in 2018, for being out gay and a LGBTQIA+ activist.
- Joseph and Salomon fled Warsaw in Poland to go to Haifa in present-day Israel and later to Louisville, Kentucky in the United States and to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Between 1939 and 1958.
- Angela and Laura fled Argentina in 1981.
- Achmed fled from Casablanca in Morocco, via Spain, France, Italy, Lebanon, Turkey, Serbia and Germany to Brussels in Belgium. Between 1962 and 1964.
- Razia and Hanifa fled Afghanistan as recently as 2021, during the well covered air evacuation of Kabul.
- Noor fled Aleppo in Syria in 1989 to arrive in Brussels in 1991.
- Yousuf fled Gaza in Palestine in 2016-2017
- Anna fled Almaty in Kazachstan in 1999.
- Eva fled Budapest and Hungary in 1957.
- Hung fled Vietnam in 1981.
- Lidivine fled Kigali in Rwanda in 1994-1996.
- Aida fled Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992-1993.
These stories show different backgrouds, necessities and motivations for fleeing. It shows it’s always happening and it reminds us of forgotten struggles.
Wordt a visit.
Art and museums in Antwerp
- 2022 in the museums of Antwerp.
- ANTWERP | ‘Stories of refuge’ exhibition at Red Star Line Museum.
- ANTWERP | Inside Rubens House.
- ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp 2021.
- ‘Freight’ and ‘Listen’ exhibitions at MAS in Antwerp.
- ‘Masculinities: Liberation through Photography’ exhibition at FOMU, Antwerp’s photography museum.
- ANTWERP | Goshka Macuga’s ‘Figures of Absence’ honours underrepresented women in public domain art.
- Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp.
- ‘Eurasia – A Landscape of Mutability’ exhibition at Antwerp’s M HKA modern arts museum.
- ANTWERP | Geert De Weyer Gallery, a space for illustrators’ and comic strip authors’ art.
- ‘Congoville’: contemporary artists walk colonial paths at Middelheim Museum in Antwerp.
- Antwerp’s Letterenhuis ft. Paul van Ostaijen exhibition.
- ModeMuseum MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp reopens on 4 and 5 September 2021 with ‘Fashion 2.021 Antwerp – Fashion/Conscious’.
- Museum Plantin-Moretus will exhibit long-lost illustration by Rubens: ‘Opticorum Libri Sex’.
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Antwerp finally to reopen on 25 September 2022.
- ‘100 X Congo’ exhibition at Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp.
- ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition, Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS), Antwerp, 18 October 2019 to 19 April 2020.
- ANTWERP | Museum Vleeshuis up for restoration.
- REVIEW | ‘Cool Japan’ exhibition at Museum Aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp from 18 October 2019 to 19 April 2020.
- BOOK | ‘Antwerp. An Archaeological View on the Origin of the City’ by Tim Bellens.
- ‘On the road’ at Museum Plantin-Moretus.
- Red Star Line Museum.
- Paleis op de Meir.
- Museum Mayer van den Bergh.
- DIVA, Antwerp Home of Diamonds.
- ANTWERP | Red Star Line Museum of (e)migration.