SEEKING REFUGE by photographer Chris Peken
This photography exhibition will be projected on the walls of the Story-Fest Hub
Refugee - "A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster."
Refuge - "Protection or shelter, as from danger or hardship."
Four years ago photographer Chris Peken sat on the steps of St Mary's community centre with a seven year old boy. Chris asked how he came to be here, the boy told the story of how his mother fled war torn South Sudan, several years earlier with him and his six month old brother. He did not know his father. His mother resettled here and made a life with her two small children. Chris said, "So you came as refugees?" The boy said, "No. We flew here".
In referring to the inspiration for this exhibition, Chris says, "It saddened me that the debate had reached the point where a seven year old with every right to genuine refugee status, saw being a refugee as a negative thing, and did not identify as such."
Seeking Refuge is a pebble in an ocean. It is a voice through photography and words for just a handful of people who have come to Australia. It is the chance to share a few words that represent their personal experiences. They each have different backgrounds, they have different statuses as refugees, and they have had different journeys. They have all come to seek refuge.