Between 2015-2017 Omar Marques documented the faces of the migration crisis, weaving in and out of both official and illegal camps for refugees, meeting hundreds of people affected by the war in numerous places of apparent refuge – Serbia, Greece, Austria and Hungary. Amongst thousands of photographs, we chose a few dozen, those which were in contrast to the familiar images of photo- reportage. The images underwent a specific modification contrary to the principles of traditional photo-journalism – the people in them have been erased, they are unseen. The photographs are a striking witness to the presence of refugees, yet the refugees themselves are no longer present. In this way, the distorted reportage transports us into a different sphere of contemplation – we are left only with the traces of hundreds of thousands of people. The operation of “subtracting”, erasing, camouflaging, aims to draw our attention to the absence of refugees in the heated political debate and public discourse. Omar’s photo exhibition presents and brings to the fore the question of the presence/absence of the millions of refugees who are in Europe, alongside us but strangely absent.
The Project “Refugees” emerged from a collaboration between Omar Marques and Natalia Wiernik.