face conference55Face Forward …into my home is an interactive art project focused on the stories of people who have been forced to leave their homelands and are rebuilding their life in Greece. It includes storytelling workshops inspired by a selection of contemporary artworks from the collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), the photo shooting of portraits, and a photography exhibition about and with refugees and asylum-seekers, now living in the greater Athens area, benefitting from ESTIA, the Emergency Support To Integration and Accommodation programme implemented by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and funded by the European Commission.

The project is designed and implemented by EMST’s Education Department, in collaboration with the UNHCR and is funded by the European Commission’s department for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), in the framework of the ESTIA programme, providing urban accommodation and cash assistance to thousands of asylum seekers and refugees in Greece.

Face Forward …into my home introduces the public to the faces behind the numbers and the Greek refugee crisis, and tells their stories – the family members, the woman, the man, the teenager. Getting to know these human stories, one realizes that even though they lost almost everything when they were forced to flee their homes, they still share many of the same desires and dreams that we all do. They haven’t lost their identity, their skills or their hope. They just long to resume a normal life.

The ESTIA programme (ESTIA means “home” in Greek) helps them to realize exactly this: through accommodation in apartments and provision of monthly cash support, refugees and asylum-seekers are able to lead more secure and normal lives, regain the dignity of choice and gradually take back control of their life. At the same time, Face Forward…into my home introduces these people as residents of a city that has embraced so many cultures, religions and ideas – a diversity that is defined through social solidarity and mutual respect, so that we can all feel “at Home”.

EMST Temporary Exhibition Space, Ground floor: 22 November 2017 – 31 January 2018

Read more: Refugees in Greece: Integration efforts, remaining challenges