Spotlights on migration and arrival
Herlinde Koelbl is showing her photographic project “Refugees – A Great Challenge” at the German Foreign Office in Berlin.
Enlarge image Exhibtion “Refugees – A Great Challenge” by Herlinde Koelbl (© Herlinde Koelbl) People, always people. Herlinde Koelbl made a name for herself with vivid portraits and long-term photographic projects like “Traces of Power”. Here she accompanied well-known German politicians over a long period, not only photographing and filming them, but also conducting interviews. The series vividly shows what power does to the powerful. Koelbl has taken pictures of German living rooms and bedrooms and has photographed children, women and men in series – her works are sometimes spotlights on personal destinies, sometimes long time exposures of social developments.
Objects also have something to say
Refugees and migration, a topic that concerns many people today in Europe, is also important to Herlinde Koelbl: the 77-year-old artist is presenting her photographic project “Refugees – A Great Challenge” in the Atrium of the German Foreign Office in Berlin. “My main concern was to find out what happens after the arrival of refugees in Greece, Italy or Germany,” says the self-taught photographer. Of course, this project also focuses above all on the people concerned – a young woman reads in the faint light inside a tent; a group of refugees sit huddled together in a language course; a new arrival stands barefoot in an Italian camp, wrapped in shiny golden thermal foil. But people are not depicted on all the photographs – sometimes Koelbl also lets objects talk: a pile of black inflatable boat covers on the beach or a heap of lifejackets almost as high as the chain of hills behind them.
Enlarge image “Refugees – A Great Challenge” (© Herlinde Koelbl) Efforts of the German Foreign Office
The exhibition has been broadened to include information about the efforts of the German Foreign Office on behalf of people in the crisis regions: this involves humanitarian assistance in the affected countries and for refugees in Europe. Other topics include projects to support free journalism in civil war zones, education campaigns in the refugees’ countries of origin, such as the #RumoursaboutGermany campaign, and support for the training of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon – for example, as experts in cultural preservation.
The exhibition is on display in the Atrium of the German Foreign Office until March 9.