Hong Kong – This October, Hong Kong non-profit organisation Centre for Refugees presents a powerful story about Hong Kong’s history as a place of refuge.
Under Our Shelter is a curated look at Hong Kong’s history as a place of refuge using new, archived and privately held images, many of which have never been displayed in public. These thought-provoking photo-stories will be displayed at two prominent venues in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui from 19 to 28 October 2017, and provide a window into both past and present Hong Kong for some of its most vulnerable residents.
Images for the exhibition have been sourced from the extensive photographic archives of Christian Action, who have been providing assistance to refugees arriving in Hong Kong since the 1950s, with others donated by a private collector. Beyond the archives, the exhibition will also feature contributions by some of Centre for Refugees’ clients who have found refuge in Hong Kong, as well as images by photographer Alexander Treves, whose widely published work has documented the plight of displaced people around the world.
With a history of compassion and advocacy dating back to the 1950s, Centre for Refugees was established in 2004 by Christian Action and remains today the only drop-in community centre for refugees arriving in Hong Kong. The Centre provides some of society’s most vulnerable people – including victims of torture, war, genocide and other acts of persecution – with a comprehensive support system that increases social, financial, cultural, and mental wellbeing, with a vision to see refugees become empowered, engaged and valued members of our Hong Kong community.
Under Our Shelter documents 20th and 21st century Hong Kong’s complex relationship with refugees, telling the story of the city as a haven for White Russians and Mainland Chinese who arrived in the 1950s and 60s, Vietnamese escaping conflict in the 1970s, and the current inflow of asylum seekers from Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. This powerful series of photographs tells the story of those who were forced to come to Hong Kong to seek shelter, safety and sanctuary.
“Hong Kong’s relationship with its refugee community has been a complex one,” says Jonnet Kudera Bernal, Manager, Centre for Refugees. “There is nothing easy about the story we’re telling, but it’s one that needs to be told.”
A compelling catalogue of the highlight photographs and stories documented in Under Our Shelter has been produced to accompany the exhibition, and will be on sale at the exhibition for $150 with all proceeds going to support the work of Centre for Refugees.