directory - Refugees

Ursula Biemann

There is probably no other artist who has delved so deeply into the subject of the borders between the rich countries of the North and the poorer ones of the South as Ursula Biemann. Her special interest is gender relations. The video essay Performing the Border from 1999, which is about the Mexico–USA border between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso in Texas, was the starting point for further research on global sex trafficking. For an exhibition at the Generali Foundation in Vienna 2003, Biemann and the anthropologist Angela Sanders contributed the video essay Europlex, which is about women who cross over the border into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco.

The Electronic Disturbance Theater

The Electronic Disturbance Theater 1.0 (EDT) group (Ricardo Dominguez, Brett Stalbaum, Stefan Wray, and Carmin Karasic) developed Virtual-Sit-In technologies in 1998 in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0 (Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand) developed the Transborder Immigrant Tool (a GPS cellphone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico–U.S border which won the Transnational Communities Award in 2008, an award funded by Cultural Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–U.S. and handed out by the U.S.


Parrhesia is a group founded in 2000 by Jewish and Palestinian activists, artists, designers, and photographers in Israel, which supports dialog with the Palestinian population of Israel, and advocates their equal rights. In the course of the project Through Language, which has been running since 2006, the Arabic place names in Jerusalem and Jaffa that have been effaced on road signs are replaced by graffiti. In collaboration with the initiative Zochrot [remembering], which was founded in 2002 and works to keep remembrance alive of the Palestinian Nakba [catastrophe] – the forced expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 – the group Parrhesia publishes the magazine Sedek [the rupture].

Lily Yeh – The Rwanda Healing Project

Lily Yeh, who was born in China 1941 and has lived in the USA since 1960, started The Village of Arts and Humanities in Philadelphia in 1986, a not-for-profit initiative to revitalize neighbourhoods through art, and since then she has worked as an artist. In 2004, she founded the Barefoot Artists and also the two-part Rwanda Healing Project: of the transformation of the Rigerero Survivors Village, erected 1997/1998 for survivors of the genocide and combining three neighbouring villages, and the construction of a memorial. 100 families with 190 children lived in the village. Six teachers were trained to paint houses with the kids.

Fernando Alvim – Memorias Intimas Marcas

The aftermath of the civil war in Angola, which lasted for decades and was finally ended in 2002, was devastating: almost a third of the country’s population were refugees within their own country, many had little or no access to basic medical care and clean drinking water. Child soldiers and girls forced into marriage, landmines and a vast number of war-disabled people characterized this traumatized country.