Refugee Week Greece 2023

We are proud to announce a virtual showcase of 8 selected artists in celebration of Refugee Week Greece between 19 - 25 June 2023. 
Within the showcase, we aim to present works that explore a range of responses to displacement, migration, and diaspora. From photography and painting to sculpture and more, the showcase emphasizes the power of art to evoke emotion and provoke thought. 

Our aim is to create a safe and welcoming space that encourages reflection and reminds us of our interconnectedness. The showcase will be accessible on our website, Instagram account and Refugee Week Greece's channels, ensuring a wider audience beyond our networks can engage with the works. Let's celebrate this powerful voice and contribute to a better interpretation of tomorrow.

Find more on our IG channels @creamathens@RefugeeWeekGreece or explore the festival programme here.

Refugee Week is the world's largest arts & culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of people seeking sanctuary. It’s been running in the UK since 1998 and is always the week around World Refugee Day (20 June).

Refugee Week Greece has received the Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe (EFFE) label. The EFFE Label is Europe’s quality stamp for remarkable arts festivals showing their engagement in the field of the arts, community involvement and international openness. EFFE is an initiative by the European Festivals Association supported by the European Commission and Parliament. Refugee Week Greece is coordinated and managed by Athens Comics Library, in collaboration with Counterpoints Arts, supported by Comic Relief Across Borders programme.


Selected artists


Ismael Assi

Ismael Assi's work captures the essence of personal experiences and emotions, reflecting on themes of displacement, identity, and resilience. Having personally gone through the migrant path from Istanbul to Luxembourg, his artistic works draw on and are deeply rooted in his own migration story. Awaken awareness through his pieces, Ismael wants his work to touch viewers and create an impact, encouraging them to ponder and empathize with the struggles faced by migrants and refugees worldwide. His art speaks to the soul and inspires people to contemplate their own journeys.

IG: @esmaeelassi

CHANCE   |  Photography, 2023

CHANCE is a captivating series of images that highlight the critical moments in the illegal migrant's journey. Ismael's journey from Istanbul to Luxembourg in 2015 is painstakingly documented and showcases the points migrants experience on their journeys. These series of work offer a unique insight into the perils and desperation of those who want to start a new life. Ismael Assi drives us through a journey of migrants, risking everything to reach the EU. 

Alice Mawdsley

Alice Mawdsley is a UK-based illustrator who studied illustration at Falmouth University and currently has work longlisted for the World Illustration Awards. Her illustrations are inspired by everyday life, different cultures, and the importance of food within these. Her practice is centered around reportage illustration and working with the community - creating colorful drawings on location that capture the stories of the people she meets whilst weaving in her own experiences through live conversations. 

IG: @alicemawdsleyillustrates

DAILY LIFE THROUGH OUR EYES  |  Screenprint, 2023

Daily Life Through Our Eyes is a heartfelt and poignant series of screen prints, meticulously crafted to capture the essence of the lives of Syrian refugee families. Created in support of the esteemed charity ‘Falmouth and Penryn Welcome Refugee Families’, this reportage project is a fascinating insight into the daily routines, experiences and journeys of these individuals. Through the eyes of their children, the prints depict universal themes of hope, connection and shared values. A profound and meaningful work that speaks to the heart of the human experience.

Aggelos Barai

Aggelos Barai is a documentary photographer, born in Fieri, Albania (1994). In 1998 he migrated with his family to Greece, where he grew up. He has studied photography and art history in Athens. His work focuses mainly on social issues, such as human rights and migration movements in the Balkans. He has been awarded several prizes in Greece and abroad, including from the Educational Foundation of the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia & Thrace Daily Newspapers and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). He is a member of the Foreign Press Association of Greece and a brand ambassador for FujiFilm in Greece. He has been awarded the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship by ARTWORKS (2021). 

IG: @aggelos_barai 

I FEEL GOOD  |  Photography, 2012

For decades now, Greece has been at the centre of migration in Europe. I Feel Good follows the lives of settled immigrant communities from various continents, such as Africa and South Asia, as they come together as a community in moments of happiness and celebration in Athens. In the reciprocity and recognition of these moments, individuals feel joyous and liberated. In short, they feel good. Barai has documented the immigrant experience in Greece for close to a decade and through this project he is showcasing a sundry depiction of lives resettled and celebrated. 

Ifigeneia Ilia-Georgiadou

Ifigeneia Ilia-Georgiadou (she/her, born in Athens, 1991) is a visual artist whose practice revolves around ceramics, textiles and experimental sound. She completed her BA (2014) in the Department of Fine Arts and Art Sciences in Ioannina. In 2015 she lived in Amsterdam where she worked in two galleries and an artistic platform. From 2016-2021 she worked as an art teacher and in 2021 she moved to Rotterdam for her MFA in Piet Zwart Institute. She has participated in several group shows in Greece, Spain, The Netherlands as well as the 59th Venice Biennale and since 2023 she is a member of PAF residency in France.

IG: @ifigeneia.ilia.georgiadou 

INSIDE WOR(L)DS  |  Ceramics, audio (site specific), 2023

Inside Wor(l)ds is an innovative project that delves into the significance of language and communication in times of war and migration. Through the creation of symbols and letters, and collaborating with diverse individuals, the artist has recorded the corresponding sounds and engaged in a personal journey of learning and understanding. This unique and evocative artwork embodies the complexities of language preservation, transformation and distortion in different environments. 

Françesko Ymeraj

Françesko Ymeraj was born in Vlorë, Albania currently living in Greece. With a background in Art Conservation and Protection of Cultural Heritage from Ionian University, he is involved in the conservation of murals at a monastery. His work is inspired by immigrational trauma, exploring its' historical and cultural context. This curiosity has led him to actively engage with local art communities, participating in art exhibitions and pop up shows.

IG: @ofrancesko 

Pastruese pa pasaportë  (HOUSEWORKERS WITHOUT PASSPORTS) - Ndërtues me pasaporta të përkthyera gabim (BUILDERS WITH MISTRANSLATED PASSPORTS)  |  Digital collage, 2022 

Due to a civil war back in the 90s, lots of Albanians had to leave the country and many of them decided to move to Greece. With striking imagery and powerful symbolism, his work explores the pervasive stigma and discrimination experienced by Albanian immigrants in Greece those 33 years. Drawing attention to the fluidity of identity and borders, the pieces offer a glimpse into the often alienating experience of living "in between" cultures. A poignant reflection on the ongoing legacy of civil conflict, these works spark important conversations about the need for empathy and understanding in an increasingly divided world.

Kleopatra Haritou

Kleopatra Haritou was born in Athens, Greece. She studied Fine Art Photography in NY (awarded by Pentax), Athens and London. Her main theme is the social, yet absent body. Kleopatra is now editing her fine art documentary “Sacred Way” and also preparing her new large-scale work “Entry-Exodus” with the support of Onassis Foundation. The edition will be presented as a joint project with her documentary “The praying mantis”, shot in Athens and Tinos. Kleopatra for the last 20 years is collaborating with cinematographers as a still photographer, including Astra Taylor on “What is Democracy”, Christopher Papakaliatis on “Worlds Apart” and many others. 

IG: @kleopatra_haritou

PROSFYGIKA (The Refugee settlements ofAlexandra’s Av.)  |  Fine art photo print, 2012

There are few building complexes in Athens as identifiable as the refugee settlements of Alexandra’s Av. (1933-1935). They spring as a need from a Greek trauma (the destruction of Asia Minor) and manifest as a result in the social landscape of a fast-developing capital. The artist was visiting this place for five years, exhilarated by the scenes behind open doors. Each one of the 200 keys she had at her disposal exposed a different story. These photographs are perhaps the last documentation associated with the Greek refugees from Asia Minor taken during the period that in their majority were sold back to the Greek Government in 2001. 

Nesterenko Andrii

Andrii Nesterenko is a Ukrainian artist hailing from the city of Kharkiv. Drawing since the tender age of five, Nesterenko's passion and skill for the arts led him to study at the most prestigious schools in the country, including art school, art college, and the academy of arts. Despite facing challenges amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine, Nesterenko pushed forward, recently defending his master's degree with the highest score in 2020. His dedication to his craft shines through his work, always striving for excellence in every artistic endeavor he undertakes.

IG: @nesterenkoandreyart

DIALOGUE 6  |  Drawing, 2022

His first artwork features a poignant depiction of two women waiting in line for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. The artist captures the essence of their concerns through their body language and conversation. One woman, wearing a blue headscarf, has lost her home due to the war and is uncertain about her future. His second artwork also highlights the plight of children in Ukraine, who are vulnerable to the outside world but receive support and protection from their parents and others. Many children in Ukraine cannot see their fathers for years.

Aristotel Nikolli

Aristotel Nikolli is a photographer born in Northern Albania in 1994. He immigrated to Greece with his family in February 1999, where he grew up and spent most of his life. In recent years, Aristotel has been living between Greece, Albania, and Scotland. Photography has become an integral part of his life and a way to express his feelings. As a freelancer, he has participated in multiple exhibitions, including the 15th Anti-Racism Festival and the 5th Humanlinks Festival in Athens, Greece. He is set to showcase his work at the 1st Athens Civil Society Festival and the Athens City Festival in 2023.

IG: @aristotel.nikolli

THE TOWN INSIDE  |  Photography, 2023

Being an immigrant himself, immigration and refugee issues have been and continue to be a significant part of the artist's life. His work is always focused on the efforts of individuals in achieving a better future for themselves and their families. Sometimes they face very difficult and challenging situations, but they also experience small moments of joy. 

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