We proudly present "Musicians In Exile", an impressive photo exhibition

'A flood', 'a wave', 'a tsunami'… If we’re talking about refugees, we don’t shy away from apocalyptic expressions. Because we are facing a challenge which we can’t get a grip on, we forget all too easily that refugees are people first and foremost.

Journalist Kasper Goethals and photographer Johannes De Bruycker - founders of The Caravan's Journal, a Belgian journalistic collective - refuse to forget the faces in the flood. They see a wave of people, a tsunami of talent and a flood of stories.

Hussein Rassim (ud, Iraq) played the lute  at the Baghdad Conservatory. His band, ‘Solo Baghdad’, quickly became popular but disbanded when Hussein fled the war in August 2015. Photo: Johannes De Bruycker
Hussein Rassim (ud, Iraq) fled his country in August 2015. Last week he was granted asylum papers to legally stay in Belgium. His dream is to continue playing the lute. "I want to rock Europe'', he says. Photo: Johannes De Bruycker

Over the last few months they went in search of musicians among the most recent newcomers to our continent. They spoke to dozens of artists in Athens, at the Macedonian border, in Calais, Berlin and Brussels. Together, they selected nine impressive images which they present to the the public in June. The exhibition 'Musicians in Exile' can be viewed in the AB Resto (Rue des Pierres) until the end of the month. Kasper & Johannes give a sneak preview: "From the father in Syria who played music so his children would forget why the walls were trembling to the young metal-violinist who goes in search of a new band… In their search for music, refugees become people again."

The photo exhibition fits in with the larger narrative around Artists #withRefugees, a project with visual art, debate, and a benefit concert at the AB as the highlight. On Monday 20 June, we are opening the doors for the driving force behind the concert, Brussels Jazz Orchestra, and Tutu Puoane, David Linx, Brussels Vocal Project and I Solisti del Vento. They have invited five soloists from the Syrian Big Band, an orchestra on the run, to make music together. Tickets for the concert can be bought here.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and their partners see this event as the key project of World Refugee Day 2016. On this day - 20 June - countless initiatives will be taking place to draw attention to the plight of people on the run.

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