The reason behind launching this project is the rapid increase of inhumane conditions in Moria camp in Lesvos, Greece- the largest open prison in Europe- along with my personal interest to understand and show the reality of the micro-community of immigrants and refugees in relation with the island of Lesvos, its people and its land.
While Greece is now experiencing the second wave of the so-called refugee/ migration crisis, more than 20,000 people are trapped in terrible conditions in Moria, as the camp was designed to accommodate 3,000. In this Aegean island two worlds collide extremely dangerously – on the one hand the people who are eager to leave but not allowed to, leading to feelings of frustration and anger and on the other hand people who want back the “normality” of their island. Migrants and refugees are turned into scapegoats as racist behaviours increase.
I have been following the refugee crisis for many years now but this time I was eager to escape the stereotypical depiction of the migrant/ refugee and to focus on storytelling in a more experiential way, trying to get closer to people and show their story through my lens. Being present there, gave me the opportunity to see deeper and besides the living conditions, to focus on moments of joy, pain, intimacy and affection.
These moments are the epicentre of the migration experience and they brought back to my mind my own personal migration story, when I came from Albania to Greece as a kid in 1998. I have experienced the beautiful feelings of freedom and hope but also the dark side of being a migrant.