Thousands of refugees flooding out of the Middle East and North Africa creating a humanitarian crisis,Achilleas Souras was learning about the crisis at his school in Barcelona, he hoped to create an artwork as he learned more.
“It culminated in me reaching out to get actual life jackets from Lesbos in Greece where many migrants would arrive.”
With help from the mayor of Lesbos, a Greek island that has coped with a flood of migrants,Souras got raw material for the artwork, eventually receiving hundreds of life jackets.
“When I touched them, I realize that each one of these life jackets represented a human life and it also had the smell of the sea so I just made it much more impactful than I thought initially.”
He fashioned a shelter that looked like the igloos of indigenous people in the far north.In different configurations the artwork has been shown from South Africa and Italy to Canada.He was in Los Angeles for the LA Design Festival and brought a small version of the installation made with miniature life jackets cut from fabrics from the real ones.
He says this pop-up exhibit is not political. “The project isn’t really meant to influence somebody’s point of view.It’s really just meant to serve as a pop-up to make somebody feel more inspired to explore more about the crisis like I did.”
The UN refugee agency says more than 65 million people have been displaced from their homes worldwide.More than 22 million are refugees, people are forced to flee because of conflict or persecution.Souras says that’s something he wants people to think about.
Mike O’Sullivan, VOA News, Los Angeles.