Photos record refugees' journeys

GEOFF LEWIS
Last updated 09:43 01/07/2014
refugee exhibition
GEOFF LEWIS/Fairfax NZ
FOCUS ON REFUGEES: Belgian migrants Elodie Berth, left, and Suzel Daglinckx-Avila with some of the exhibition they have created at Agora.

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Two young women from Belgium who met each other in New Zealand have put together a photographic exhibition in Hamilton featuring the experiences of refugees.

The show, titled Take a Walk in My Shoes, officially opened at the Agora Cafe in Frankton recently to recognise World Refugee Day.

Elodie Berth works for the Red Cross, and part of the organisation's work is providing services for refugees recently arrived in New Zealand.

Hamilton absorbs between 11 and 14 per cent of the 750 "quota" refugees accepted by New Zealand annually.

Berth said the aim of the exhibition was to raise awareness of the journey that refugees often went through.

It started from a photographic project by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which features black-and-white images of refugees before they arrive in New Zealand.

The images are often taken in countries to which they have fled because of issues including ethnic, political and religious persecution.

Suzel Daglinckx-Avila helps the Waikato Refugee Forum and was responsible for expanding the exhibition by including images shot in colour by Hamilton photographer Staycee Becker of refugees in New Zealand with things that they associate with their new homeland.

The show features refugees in camps in Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Turkey and Lebanon along with images of refugees from Colombia, Burma, Mali, Congo, Sudan and Syria already settled in New Zealand. The experience of each refugee group is featured on different walls along with their background stories.

Berth and Daglinckx-Avila both came to New Zealand in 2007 as exchange students studying communications. z

The photographic exhibition, Take a Walk in My Shoes can be seen at the Agora Cafe, 13B Kent St, Frankton, Hamilton, until July 31.

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- Waikato

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