What We Brought with Us is an exhibition of things that accompanied people on their flight from persecution, conflict, poverty, and suffering.
When people are forced from their homes, their things carry symbolic weight. Things represent the web of human relations and connections to place that constitute a settled life. Yet, things also represent hope: they are a seed that must bear fruit in strange ground.
Refugee things are not always judiciously chosen; they may be selected in haste and confusion. En route, things are lost, traded, and stolen, or jettisoned because they cannot be carried any further. What is retained may be invested with new meaning and become a metonym for an entire life.
What We Brought with Us makes us question our connection to things and to one another. We are prompted to ask: what is most precious to us? Is belonging and the condition of emplacement defined in material terms? What single thing stands in for a lost world? What if, in leaving, we can take nothing?
Curated by Vanessa Agnew and Annika Roux
[Image Credits: © Jobst von Kunowski]