In the spring of 2015 the MUSÉ artist duo Francis Flurin and Halea Isabelle Kala started working with refugees in Berlin. Huseynaga Gasanov (16, Azerbaijan), Naheed Mirzad (26, Afghanistan), Sayed Omruddin Hussaini (20, Afghanistan), Siwan Suliman (20, Syria) and Zymer Zeqiri (15, Kosovo) were given disposable cameras to capture everyday-life from their perspective over the course of one week. Together with the refugee artists, photos were selected and then exhibited at various events, including a Soli-Exhibition-Party at Spreeacker, Berlin Design Night at KAOS, a showcase at SAGE Beach, installations at Fusion and Artlake Festival, as well as a collaborative event at Kater Blau / Holzmarkt.
The title AUGEN-BLICK (German for, literally, eye-view or moment) refers to our project in which refugees captured what surrounds and moves them. It transpired that they no longer want to be perceived and treated solely as victims. Instead, they strive to create daily rituals which help generate a sense of stability and normality for themselves. Unfiltered and not manipulated by the media or other third parties, this exhibition aims to provide insight (Ein-BLICK) into their lives at this particular point in time… A glimpse (BLICK) through their eyes (AUGEN), in this present moment (AUGENBLICK).
The closed-eye-portrait is related to Time To Muse which is an ongoing photography initiative by Halea that came into being in 2013 in London. In collaboration with Francis, and as an extension of their joint AUGEN–BLICK project, Halea showcases a portrait of the refugee Huseynaga printed on flags.
The flags intend to create awareness and encourage the observer to reflect and contemplate. At the same time the image mirrors the desire for a sense of belonging… of those who seek to finally arrive somewhere after a long, strenuous journey. The portrait is exhibited using the medium of the flag which usually symbolises territorial and cultural boundaries and serves the power of nations as well as formations of diverse forms of authority and influence. Here the flag is re-appropriated to invite the observer to turn inwards, ponder and feel empathy. The portrait of the sixteen year old boy Huysenaga now replaces symbols and coats of arms of nations, as the flags are installed at YAAM, Holzmarkt and Sage Beach, along the Spree. This site once was (not long ago) the heavily guarded boarder between East and West. Today the formal physical boarder no longer exists and instead the water way constitutes a source of vitality, joy and freedom for Berlin’s people. It engenders hope that other divisions in other regions of this planet will dissolve, thus giving rise to a peaceful and just sphere for living. Blowing freely in the wind, not suppressed by the regime of his home country or medial narratives, Huseynaga finally stands for himself.