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LFI.GALLERY PHOTOGRAPHER

26.08.2016

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From 1938 to 2001, Ellinikon was Athen’s international airport. After it closed as such, trade fairs and congresses were held in the complex so that the buildings would not remain empty. When increasing numbers of refugees started reaching Greece, the former airport was given a new role as a refugee camp. With her Not Wanted portrait series, Romanian photographer Mioara Chiparus is dedicated to giving faces to the predominantly Afghan refugees. She returns regularly to the airport to get an impression of the current situation.

“‘When will the borders open?‘ and ‘Why did they close the borders?’ These are the main questions the Afghan refugees housed in the old airport building in Athens ask me when I visit them. Children and their parents and grandparents are trapped in limbo in the departure terminal – ironically a place which previously had facilitated transit to final destinations. They have been waiting for more than four months for the borders to open so that they may continue on their journeys.

Despite the fact that Greece finds itself in economic turmoil and facing an uncertain future, many Greek citizens have made tremendous efforts to help the refugees. However, there is a vocal minority in Greece who resent the refugees and fear the consequences of this unprecedented influx.

Each time I visit the camp I see the peoples’ hopes diminished. Their living conditions are tough and their fates are being decided by others. They face an uncertain future and are aware of the fact that the mood in Europe is gradually turning against them.”

Mioara Chiparus

The Romanian photographer Mioara Chiparus was born in 1976. After completing her studies of International Relations at the University of Washington, she travelled throughout Europe. Her work initially concentrated on the homeland she had left at 16 years of age. To further develop her photographic capacity, Chiparus took part in a one year programme at the Leica Academy in Athens. This was followed by workshops with Thomas Dworzak and Alex Webb, as well as an LFI workshop with Jacob Aue Sobol. Chiparus lives in Athens.

www.mioarachiparus.com
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